NYS Public Protection Budget Hearing: CA Testimony Re Executive Budget State FY 2018-2019

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The Correctional Association of New York (“the CA”) is an independent, non-profit organization founded by concerned citizens in 1844 and granted unique authority by the New York State Legislature to inspect prisons and report its findings and recommendations to the legislature, the public and the press. Through monitoring, research, public education and policy recommendations, the CA strives to make the administration of justice in NYS more fair, efficient and humane. Our unique access to NYS prisons and the information garnered from incarcerated persons and prison staff, combined with our policy and legislative expertise, informs our perspective today. Following an analysis of the budget details for the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), our testimony will discuss various other specific issues within the budget proposal and Article VII bills that have an impact on incarceration in New York.

Overall, with nearly $3.3 billion dollars proposed for DOCCS’ budget, the continued large and ever-increasing expenditure on incarcerating people raises concerns about the use of New York’s taxpayer dollars on prisons rather than on education, health, and other human services that actually help make our communities safer and thriving. There are also serious concerns regarding the allocations to the various divisions within DOCCS, and specifically the continued under- funding of program and medical-services. Moreover, while the Governor has proposed changes related to solitary confinement, geriatric parole release, temporary release, merit time and limited credit time allowance, and reentry, the substance and scope of these changes are grossly inadequate and need vast expansion. In addition, while it is positive the Governor has allocated substantial funds for Raise the Age implementation, other aspects of the proposed budget undermine the ability for effective implementation (including defunding of Close to Home).

Further, the Governor has proposed some positive changes related to jail and pre-trial issues of bail, speedy trial, and discovery, though these proposals also must be revised and expanded.

 

Read the entire January 30, 2018 testimony.