January 5, 2022
Just weeks after the bipartisan New Yorkers United For Justice (NYUJ) Coalition announced a campaign to reform New York’s broken reentry system for formerly incarcerated individuals, Governor Kathy Hochul today embraced reentry reform in her State of the State address. Governor Hochul’s proposals to improve employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated New Yorkers, help those reentering society find stable housing, and pass the Clean Slate Act align with NYUJ’s Second Chance Agenda for New York package of legislative proposals designed to reduce recidivism rates, cut public spending related to incarceration, build new and permanent paths to successful reentry for people involved in the criminal legal system, and increase public safety.
“As legislators return to Albany, we are thrilled that Governor Hochul has continued to embrace reentry reform and second chances as priorities for 2022 and we are confident her colleagues in the legislature will continue to embrace commonsense criminal justice reforms as well. The reality is that 95 percent of New Yorkers incarcerated in state prisons will return to their communities. They need a safe and permanent path home from incarceration, but right now, the state’s reentry system is nothing more than $40 and a bus ticket—it isn’t fair, it isn’t just, and it certainly doesn’t do anything to reduce recidivism and keep our communities safe,” said NYUJ Executive Director Alexander Horwitz.
“Our campaign this year is based on a simple truth: everyone deserves a second chance, and state government must do more to provide New Yorkers reentering society with the tools and support they need to succeed. We look forward to working with the Hochul Administration and legislature to enact reforms that will improve the lives of New Yorkers, reduce wasteful public spending, and make our communities safer.”
Specific policies of the Second Chance Agenda for New York include:
The ReSeT Act: New legislation that would build and fund a statewide network of local, in-community,evidence-based reentry services;
“Clean Slate” legislation that would seal criminal records from view by non-governmental entities like landlords and prospective employers after rehabilitation and a reasonable period of time of demonstrated lawful living;
“Second Look” sentencing reform that will allow the courts to review individuals’ sentences on a case-by-case basis after they’ve served a certain amount of time; and
New legislation to modernize New York’s criminal justice data system so we know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to reentry, public safety, and reducing recidivism.
NYUJ’s Second Chance Agenda for New York campaign will continue throughout the 2022 legislative session. For more information, visit: https://nyuj.org/secondchances/.