BY TRONE DOWD
Queens Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) said today that he is pleased with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to revisit and alter certain aspects of the states’ criminal justice system to help poor defendants.
The sweeping proposals include changes to the bail system, the amount of down time during a trial, evidence laws and post jail penalties. In the past, jail reform advocates—such as Lancman—have argued that monetary bail discriminates against people who don’t have the means to pay their way out of jail. They have also said that limiting the job market for people who have been to jail, regardless of the crime, contributes to high recidivism rates.
Lancman, the chairman and founder of the City Council’s Court and Legal Services committee said that these “important reforms” are a step in the right direction for the state.
“Bail decisions that keep low-level, nonviolent defendants locked up for being poor, endless delays in giving both defendants and victims their days in court, and keeping critical information from defense counsel until trial are the scourges of the criminal justice system—crowding our jails, making a mockery of justice, and contributing to wrongful convictions,” the councilman said. “These issues have been a focus of the council’s Committee on Courts and Legal Services, and Gov. Cuomo is setting New York State on a path for a justice system that truly works for all New Yorkers.”
An aide with the governor’s office told the New York Times that the proposals would be “the most progressive set of reforms in the nation.”
Cuomo is expected to roll out further details on the plan at his State of the State address on Wednesday afternoon.
Reach reporter Trone Dowd via email at email@example.com or (718) 357-7400, ext. 123.