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Republicans outline criminal justice reform platform: What’s inside the package of bills?

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Republicans rallied at the Capitol on Monday calling for major criminal justice reforms and unveiling a package of bills to “Create a Safer New York.”

The proposals aim to increase support for law enforcement, change the state’s criminal justice system, and crack down on illegal gun crime, as well as protect victims.

“From misguided bail, prison discipline and parole reforms stemming from the ‘defund the police’ movement, we have seen over the past several years this Legislature move in directions that many of us believe pose a serious danger to public safety and security throughout New York State. This state has become less safe,” State Senetor Tom O’Mara (R-58) said during the press conference. “We need to keep working against the Albany Democrats’ extreme, criminal-coddling law enforcement policies, stand behind our police officers, and resist radical efforts that threaten the safety and stability of our communities and neighborhoods.”

Republicans proposed an array of changes, most of which are not expected to gain much traction among New York’s legislative supermajorities held by Democrats.

“As crime is on the rise throughout New York State, our Democratic colleagues in the Legislature continue to double-down on more soft-on-crime policies that will put our communities at greater risk. Public safety remains a top priority for Senate Republicans, and we will continue to advocate for common-sense proposals to support law enforcement, put victims over criminals, and end the revolving door of our criminal justice system. We cannot have a strong, healthy state without public safety,” added Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt. 

Here’s a rundown of the proposals:

Law Enforcement

  • Create the SAFER Communities Grant Program to invest in critical investigatory and prosecutorial resources designed to increase case clearance rates for homicide and gun crimes; 
  • Repeal HALT to protect our corrections officers; and 
  • Allow the use of familial DNA to give law enforcement more investigatory tools. 

Criminal Justice System

  • Roll back disastrous bail and discovery laws, and provide for judicial discretion to stop the revolving door in our criminal justice system; 
  • Oppose soft-on-crime policies being advanced by the Democrat Majorities, including the so-called “Clean Slate” Act, “Elder Parole,” and others; and 
  • Increase penalties for habitual repeat offenders who commit crimes that harm New Yorkers’ quality of life. 

Illegal Gun Crime 

  • Reduce the use of illegal firearms with increased funding for gun interdiction efforts; 
  • Increase penalties for crimes committed with stolen firearms, and mandatory consecutive sentencing for crimes involving illegal firearms; and 
  • Make any misdemeanor or felony offense involving an illegal firearm bail eligible and amend Raise the Age to ensure 16- and 17-year-olds charged with certain gun or gang-related crimes are prosecuted as adults.

Changes For Victims

  • Restrict the release of identifying information in certain cases, and put in place policies to protect victims’ rights during the parole process; 
  • Increase the caps on Office of Victim Services reimbursements for crime victims, and invest in victim support programs; and 
  • Authorize judges to set lifetime orders of protection for certain crimes, such as violent and domestic violence felonies.