Ulster Co. criminal justice reform plan to be presented to lawmakers next month
Patricia Doxsey is reporting for the Daily Freeman Deputy Ulster County Executive Anna Markowitz walked members of the county Legislature Public Safety and Law Enforcement Committee through a criminal justice reform plan that administration officials say will help end mass incarceration countywide, improve police oversight and accountability, address systemic racial bias and heal relationships between the county Sheriff's Office and residents. The plan, developed by the Ulster County Criminal Justice and Reform Commission, is made up of nine initiatives, including measures to address police accountability, expand restorative justice programs and better address how law enforcement interacts with people suffering from mental health and addiction issues. Markowitz said County Executive Pat Ryan will ask the Legislature to approve the plan on March 16. Public Safety and Law Enforcement Committee Chairperson Eve Walter said resolutions implementing elements of the plan that require legislative approval will be brought to the Legislature individually. Legislator John Parete said that while the plan addresses issues including police interactions with the public and criminal justice system reforms for the accused, it does little to address public safety. The Boiceville Democrat also criticized the plan for recommending strategies to help those struggling with opioid addiction but not for prevention and education programs that could help people from becoming addicted. Local governments statewide must pass a local law enacting police reforms by April 1. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.