Includes $772 Million to Address Gun Violence, Reduce Recidivism, and Support Criminal Justice System in Pandemic Recovery
Provides Judges Greater Discretion to Set Bail for Serious Crimes
$347 Million in Evidence-Based Gun Violence Prevention Initiatives
$170 Million to Support the Implementation of Discovery Reform for Prosecutors and Defenders
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the public safety highlights of the FY 2024 Budget. The Budget improves public safety by providing judges greater discretion to set bail for serious crimes, providing $170 million to support the implementation of discovery reform for prosecutors and defenders, and investing $347 million in evidence-based gun violence prevention initiatives. Additional highlights include transformative investments to reduce recidivism, address the flow of deadly fentanyl into New York State, and improve Statewide emergency response services. Governor Hochul was joined by New York City Mayor Eric Adams, district attorneys and other leaders in public safety and criminal justice at today's announcement.
"Public safety is my top priority, and I'm proud that this Budget delivers record investments and critical improvements to the justice system to make New Yorkers safer," Governor Hochul said. "By ensuring judges have the discretion they need, investing in proven strategies to combat gun violence, and strengthening criminal justice reforms, we are using every tool at our disposal to improve safety in every community across the State."
Driving Down Gun Violence
The FY 2024 Budget invests $347 million - a $120 million increase from the FY 2023 Budget, which contained the largest investment in public safety funding in a generation - in evidence-based gun violence prevention initiatives. These transformative investments include, but are not limited to:
- $84.1 million for youth employment programs, of which $37 million is for programs in Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) jurisdictions.
- $70 million for communities to respond to the aftermath of gun violence, of which $50 million is for community capital needs.
- $36.4 million for the Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative - the largest in New York State history.
- $31.1 million for crime reduction, youth justice, and gang prevention programs.
- $25.9 million for State Police Community Stabilization Units (CSUs), increasing the number of these units from 16 to 25.
- $25 million for the SNUG Street Outreach program.
- $18 million for the State-supported Crime Analysis Center network, including the establishment of a new center in New York City, bringing the number of centers Statewide to 11. Of this funding, $2 million will also be used for crime and data analysts focused on stopping fentanyl distribution.
- $10 million for law enforcement to support enforcing and investigating Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO).
- $7.4 million in additional funding to establish a Supervision Against Violent Engagement (SAVE) program to expand the State's response to gun violence among the parolee population in GIVE jurisdictions.
Improving New York's Bail Laws
The FY 2024 Budget improves New York's bail laws by giving judges greater discretion to set bail for serious crimes and greater discretion in selecting appropriate non-monetary pre-trial conditions in all cases, regardless of the offense. The agreement removes the standard that had required judges to make pretrial decisions based on the "least restrictive means" necessary to ensure a defendant's return to court. Eliminating this standard will restore discretion to allow judges to adequately consider all relevant factors when making pretrial determinations, including whether a defendant has a criminal history or a history of non-compliance with prior conditions imposed by the court. This revision also expands even further the discretion that judges have for imposing stronger securing orders for repeat offenders. When revoking the old order, judges, for the first time, are instructed to impose an order that ensures not just return to court, but also compliance with court conditions. These changes will help judges keep violent criminals off our streets while ensuring the fundamental premise of bail reform -- removing punitive treatment for defendants charged with low-level offenses -- remains in our laws.
Improving Effectiveness and Efficiency of the Criminal Justice System
The FY 2024 Budget includes significant funding to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the criminal justice system:
- $170 million to support the implementation of discovery reform for prosecutors and defenders, including $50 million in capital for discovery technology improvements in New York City.
- $100 million in aid for prosecution and defense funding across the State.
- $92 million to offset county costs related to increasing rates paid to lawyers assigned to represent low-income New Yorkers. The Budget increases assigned counsel rates to $158 per hour Statewide.
- $31.4 million for alternatives to incarceration programs.
- $20 million for pretrial services.
- $11.5 million for reentry services to help individuals reintegrate to their communities after serving prison sentences.
Improving Statewide Emergency Response Services
The FY 2024 Budget includes investments and measures to improve Statewide emergency response services, including:
- $105 million to upgrade the State Emergency Operations Center, which serves as the State's centralized location where emergency preparedness and response activities are coordinated for all major emergencies.
- $25 million to provide capital grants to volunteer fire departments for construction, renovation, or purchase of facilities and equipment.
- $20 million to assist counties in transitioning to Next Generation 911 via a fiberoptic cable network that would connect to a single Public Service Answering Point in each county.
- $10 million to provide a State-funded stipend to volunteer firefighters who complete foundational training.
Protecting Public Safety
The FY 2024 Budget also includes:
- $100 million to purchase and renovate a new satellite crime laboratory for the State Police. This new facility will eliminate overcrowding at the Forensic Investigation Center and provide space for anti-gun violence initiatives. State Police currently has three satellite crime laboratories in the Albany area.
- $66.7 million to increase the number of State Police academy classes, making up for academy classes that were postponed during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as increasing the number of troopers dedicated to addressing serious crime.
- $7.4 million to allow State Police to keep pace with technology in criminal investigations, including digital forensic services and investigating cybercrimes - provide critical support to the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit to ensure that crimes against children are fully investigated.
- $7 million to establish an Anti-Fentanyl Innovation Grant, creating units tasked with shutting down fentanyl supply chains flowing into our communities and prosecuting in cases of overdose deaths.
- $5 million to provide financial assistance to victims and survivors of domestic violence.
Since taking office, Governor Hochul has taken actions to strengthen New York State's gun violence prevention laws and protect public safety by banning ghost guns, large capacity magazines and body armor; expanding bail eligibility for gun crimes; raising the age to purchase semi-automatic weapons to 21; and launching the first-in-the-nation Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns, which met again in mid-March, among other initiatives.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said, "Make no mistake about it, this Budget will do a good deal to make New Yorkers safer.I commend Governor Hochul, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, and Speaker Heastie for taking these important steps to provide clarity on how judges can use their powers to help reduce recidivism and for also increasing funding for public defenders and district attorneys so that justice can be delivered faster and fairer. This Budget also addresses the need for increased enforcement of the emerging legal cannabis market. We're not spiking the ball, but we know we are moving towards the goal line, and we will look forward to building upon the success we saw in this year's Budget."
Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark said, "I am pleased that Governor Hochul's Budget will provide us with desperately needed funds for our discovery obligations. All stakeholders need to share information and these funds will go toward technology to make the sharing seamless. We will also hire additional staff to ease the burden on our overworked prosecutors. I believe funding for youth employment programs is vital to preventing crime. More discretion for judges to set bail will assist in keeping those who threaten public safety out of the community. I will continue to work on improving the criminal justice system on all fronts. Everyone has a stake in public safety: justice for victims and fairness for defendants."
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said, "This Budget makes unprecedented investments in public safety that will help us continue our progress fighting violence across New York. I commend the Legislature and Governor Hochul for their commitment to funding essential violence prevention programs and for providing critically-needed resources to support discovery compliance."
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg said, "We thank Governor Hochul, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie for allocating additional funding to the Office, which will help address our discovery burdens through technology upgrades and additional hiring. Furthermore, the significant investments in gun violence prevention initiatives and mental health care demonstrate the Governor's holistic approach to addressing and improving public safety. We look forward to continuing our productive discussions to ensure New York City remains America's safest big city."
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said, "As prosecutors struggle with the challenge of complying with the discovery laws, funding for both capital improvements and personnel to assist in compliance is critical. Eliminating the 'least restrictive means' language from the statute and affording judges greater discretion to impose non-monetary conditions is also a welcome amendment."
Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, New York John Devito said, "The ATF NYFD is deeply grateful for the proactive steps that Governor Hochul has taken to address violent gun crime and firearms trafficking both here in New York State as well as with our neighbors across the northeast. The Governor's leadership and support has been essential in furtherance of the ATF Crime Gun Intelligence strategy, which relies on technology, partnership and most importantly, a 'whole of government' approach to further reduce gun crime. We are also thankful for the leadership teams from both HIDTA and DCJS who have worked tirelessly to carry out Governor Hochul's action plan to stem the flow of crime guns, stop trigger-pullers, and sustain efforts to improve public safety across this great State."
Director of the New York and New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program Chauncey Parker said, "The New York State Crime Analysis Center network is a national model law enforcement information sharing partnership. The New York/New York HIDTA program has had a very strong partnership with the CAC network for many years. Now, thanks to Governor Hochul's leadership and vision, our partnership has just gotten even stronger. The new New York City Crime Analysis Center — the 11th CAC — will serve as a critical bridge for sharing information throughout the State CAC network to law enforcement partners across New York State — and beyond."