January 23, 2020
From Assemblyman Phil Palmesano:
“After additional review of the governor’s budget proposal, we’ve found that the he wants state legislators to, again, give him the authority to fast track state prison closures with only 90 days’ notice rather than the statutory, one-year notice requirement. My response? Absolutely not! It’s arrogant, it’s misguided and it’s just the governor’s latest example of his contempt for checks and balances and lack of respect for the brave men and women who work a very dangerous job to keep us safe. Violence, drug use and gang activity in our state prisons continue to escalate. Our dedicated correction officers show up every day to work in a pressure-cooker, powder keg environment created by the governor. He continues his efforts to jam the entire inmate population into fewer and fewer understaffed facilities. He is continuing, rather than eliminating, the dangerous and inhumane practice of double-bunking and double-celling inmates. There are still over 6,000 double-bunks and double-cells in the system. Quite frankly, before even one more correctional facility is even considered to be closed down in New York state, we should finally end, once and for all, the double-bunking and double-celling of inmates.
“More prison closures is not the answer! It will not just add insult to injury, but will further exacerbate the staggering rise of inmate-on-staff assaults (from 747 in 2014 to 1,033 in 2019, up 38%) and inmate-on-inmate assaults (from 860 in 2014 to 1,263 in 2019, up 47%). Time and time again, the governor’s criminal justice policies favor criminals and inmates at the expense of law enforcement officials, crime victims and public safety. This is not just a terrible idea. It’s a dangerous idea. I will continue to stand with our brave correction officers and their families by speaking out against this dangerous and misguided proposal and urge my legislative colleagues to push back and fight against this during upcoming budget hearings and budget negotiations,” said Palmesano.
From State Senator Tom O’Mara:
“Every day this ‘No Bail’ law stays in place risks another tragedy. It is irresponsible to just ignore public safety. Let’s put a stop to this daily madness and go back to work on a more careful and public examination of the law’s consequences that can result in a more commonsense, safer, and workable system. The controversial reforms pushed by Cuomo and legislative Democrats have raised alarms throughout New York’s law enforcement community. Among other provisions, the reforms eliminate cash bail and pretrial detention for nearly all misdemeanors and nonviolent felony cases, resulting in the mandatory release of 90% of those arrested, regardless of their criminal history.” O’Mara is also co-sponsoring the following legislative proposals:
> S.6839 giving judges discretion to set bail in domestic violence cases; and
> S.6840 allowing judges to consider whether a defendant poses a danger to the community when considering a case and setting a securing order. The goal, O’Mara said, is to restore public safety as priority No. 1.
From Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes:
“It is sad to see our state enter into the 2020 budget cycle with a $6 billion budget shortfall from 2019. This is on top of a $56 billion debt burden. With this debt, the budget as outlined by the governor is simply not sustainable. Once again, the governor is doubling down on his failed policies and continuing his push for more spending. As a result, this could result in New York families, seniors and businesses being forced to pay more taxes to support the governor’s new spending initiatives. We have seen the impacts of these kinds of policies before. Last decade, New York led the nation in population decline with 1.4 million residents lost. Unfortunately, it is not surprising to see that the chickens are once again coming home to roost on these failed policies this year in Albany. That being said, I remain hopeful that our state can change direction and empower families, small businesses and seniors with the tax relief and wholesale changes required in Albany to move this state in the right direction.”