2019 Criminal Justice Accomplishments
Eliminates cash bail for most defendants to ensure an individual’s wealth is no longer the determining factor for pre-trial detention while awaiting their day in court.
Requires the prosecution and defense to share all information in their possession well in advance of trial and enables defendants to review evidence the prosecution possesses prior to pleading guilty to a crime.
Speedy Trial Reform
Addresses excessively long pre-trial periods to reduce the backlog of criminal cases by requiring courts to increase accountability, reducing unnecessary delays, and ensuring all parties are prepared for trial.
Improving New York's Criminal Justice System
Following unprecedented declines in the prison population, the Budget authorizes DOCCS to close up to three prisons on an expedited schedule.
The age of criminal responsibility was raised to 18, ensuring minors who commit non-violent crimes are provided with age-appropriate services to lead productive lives.
In 2014, Governor Cuomo established the NYS Reentry Council to identify and alleviate the barriers to success felt by people with criminal convictions.
Solitary Confinement Reform
In 2015, the State and the NYCLU entered into a settlement to advance solitary confinement reform in state prisons, including creating and implementing sanction guidelines, ending solitary confinement for juveniles, reducing solitary confinement for pregnant individuals, and providing additional out-of-cell time.
Reforming Solitary Confinement in Local Jails
In 2017, Governor Cuomo and the New York State Commission of Correction issued regulations to enhance the State's oversight and enforcement of solitary confinement in local jails.
Overhauling Solitary Confinement
Governor Cuomo secured funding in the FY 2020 Budget to further restrict the use of solitary confinement in state facilities. In June of 2019, the Governor announced a joint agreement with the Legislature to administer reforms that, among other things, will restrict the use of solitary for vulnerable populations, cap the amount of time someone can spend in solitary, and expand the number of specialized units available for individuals leaving solitary confinement.
Enhancing Public Trust in Law Enforcement
Increases oversight of asset forfeiture funds and expenditures and requires enhanced reporting on demographic data concerning seized assets.
Requires increased reporting from law enforcement agencies on uses of force and directs the Division of Criminal Justice Services to annually report on use-of-force data collected.
In July 2015, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order to appoint the NYS Attorney General as a special prosecutor in matters relating to the deaths of unarmed civilians caused by law enforcement officers.
Increasing Fairness in the Criminal Justice System
In 2017, New York State adopted legislation that required the state to contribute funding the public defense services.
Governor Cuomo passed measures to require law enforcement to record interrogations of individuals accused of serious crimes to ensure evidence reliability and protect against false confessions.
New York requires DNA samples from anyone convicted of a felony or Penal Law misdemeanor, better enabling law enforcement to convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent.