Vera Institute of Justice responds to New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s state-of-the-state address
New York Governor Kathy Hochul presented the state of the state on Wednesday, where she outlined her administration’s priorities for 2022.
The Vera Institute of Justice issued the following statement in response:
“Governor Hochul presented a vision and a commitment to protect people in New York State’s criminal and immigration justice systems. Yet there are concrete legislative, policy and budgetary steps she can take this year to transform those systems until they are fair for all.
With the ongoing humanitarian crisis on Rikers Island and the COVID-19 pandemic which is particularly dangerous for those in prison, the most important action Governor Hochul can take is to facilitate the safe release of people from prisons and New York prisons. This requires staying the course on the reform of the bond. New York’s bail reform measures reduced the number of prisons by more than a third in a matter of months. The governor can also continue to reshape the New York State parole process by improving transparency regarding the staff of the parole board and parole board, prioritizing board members and board members. parole board with expertise beyond law enforcement, and by enacting legislative reforms that expand the release options for new inmates. Yorker.
Governor Hochul can also implement measures to prevent people from jail in the first place. State and local budgets disproportionately fund law enforcement and incarceration compared to other public services communities need – investments in housing, education, and public health. Investments in community-based and non-punitive approaches to public safety have been shown to be effective and do not carry the social and fiscal costs of incarceration.
For almost two years, New York immigrants have been doing vital work during the pandemic. Although they put their lives and families in danger, they continue to be detained and deported by federal immigration authorities.
By passing the Access to Representation Act, the New York For All Act, and the Dignity Not Detention Act, New York can solidify its commitment to stand with New York immigrants. These three bills would end the criminal’s pipeline to immigration, prevent law enforcement from referring people to custody, and provide the necessary legal representation.
The Access to Representation Act would establish a right to a public defender for people at risk of deportation. Coupled with an increase in funding for immigration services to $ 24.4 million, New York could strengthen the stability and health of every community. The New York For All Act would prevent local law enforcement from cooperating with the ICE, and the Dignity Not Detention Act would remove New York from the immigration detention industry, thus ending the inhumane and unnecessary incarceration of immigrants in New York prisons. Tackling the unfair criminalization of immigrants head-on and increasing funding for immigration services would protect the safety, health and freedom of every New Yorker.
We urge Governor Hochul to support these policies and reforms and Vera is ready to work with her.