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No new funding for criminal justice reforms

Apr 15, 2019 12:15 pm
David Lombardo is reporting for the Times Union local law enforcement agencies and district attorneys are starting to sort out how to pay for the criminal justice reforms just passed, but left unfunded, by state lawmakers. The measures approved in the state budget will eliminate cash bail for misdemeanors and many non-violent felonies, mandate the issuance of appearance tickets for certain crimes and create new speedier pretrial discovery. Lawmakers also failed to provide direct funding for a Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct, to investigate allegations of malfeasance by district attorneys statewide. County officials around the state are worried that the potential savings from the reforms will not offset the new costs of compliance. With the use of bail scaled back, counties may have to spend more on pretrial monitoring, or even have to create those programs from scratch in some cases. Electronic monitoring of defendants released from custody is expected to become much more prevalent. On the other hand, the increased use of desk appearance tickets will likely reduce costs. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's administration estimates the changes will keep 90 percent of New Yorkers facing charges out of jail until their day in court. Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, the Brooklyn Democrat who helped spearhead the bail changes, said in a radio interview last week the state might consider allocating resources to localities in the future. "But considering the savings that many of the locales and the state will have with respect to not having to pay to keep people behind bars, we believe that those services will be able to be covered," Walker said. Read the full story in the Times Union.
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