Criminal Justice Reform is a critical issue in NYC. We need fairness in sentencing and we need to reduce our incarceration rate in the U.S. which is among the highest in the world. At the same time, we need to ensure that all New Yorkers have the constitutional right to live in a safe environment for home, school, work, recreation, commuting, etc. We must focus our resources on identifying and addressing root issues of crime and recidivism, while at the same time holding residents fully accountable for their negative behaviors. Consequences for unlawful behavior is fundamental for a civil and safe environment. Without negative consequences, there is of course increased crime, and ultimately chaos leading to government intervention and control.
With the recent bail reforms, we have swung to the other extreme without regard for the fairness, safety and constitutional rights of our non-criminal non-offender population. Unfortunately this approach fails to punish those who have committed crimes, actually incentivizing them and others to commit more crimes, and all at an exorbitant cost and danger to taxpayers. Additionally, somehow there is the belief that simply moving prisoners to another location will improve the quality and fairness of prison conditions. In reality, it will do nothing more than move the problems to a new location, and spend an exorbitant amount of taxpayer dollars doing so.
Clearly there is an opportunity within criminal justice reform to work together to find an approach that will actually address the problems, and value the rights of ALL, without incentivizing crime. Also, using gifts to motivate criminals to meet obligations is terribly ineffective and will only send the message that crime is not taken seriously, consequences are not enforced, and that crime is actually rewarded in NYC! Our end goals must be fair and caring for ALL involved, by first addressing the root issues of the problem. This would also include addressing the need to increase federal funds for the treatment of mental health diseases. Then without decriminalizing crime, we must create opportunities for offenders to develop their potential, use their gifts, and feel valuable, and productive. This is a fair and caring approach, whereas removing consequences and incentivizing repeat criminal behavior is fair and caring for no one.