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 Emerging Issues

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New York State Enacts a New Sentencing Model to Meet the Challenge of Reentry and Public Safety

On June 7, 2006 Governor George Pataki signed into law an important change affecting sentencing in New York.  Penal Law §1.05(6) has been amended to add a new goal, “the promotion of their (defendant’s) successful and productive reentry and reintegration into society...” (Chapter 98 of the Laws of 2006), to the four traditional sentencing goals of deterrence, rehabilitation, retribution and incapacitation.  This amendment became effective immediately.

This reintegrative sentencing model was developed by the Center for Community Alternatives in 2004 (See CCA Working Paper “Unlocking the Potential of Reentry and Reintegration” and championed by the Interfaith Coalition of Advocates for Reentry and Employment (ICARE), an alliance of communities of faith, direct service providers, and policy organizations including the New York State Council of Churches, Legal Action Center, Center for Community Alternatives, Reentry Net/NY and many congregations throughout New York State.

This amendment to New York’s Penal Law marks a significant shift by the legislature in sentencing policy.  The new law will require every judge presiding at sentencing in a criminal case to consider carefully the extent to which any given sentence will help to promote the convicted person’s reintegration into society.  Under the amended law a new and increased significance is placed on breaking the cycle of recidivism by imposing sentences of a length and type that will promote successful reintegration and increase public safety.

Click here for the text of the Bill.

Unlocking the Potential of Reentry and Reintegration:
A Reintegrative Sentencing Model

In this paper Alan Rosenthal, J.D., and Elaine Wolf, Ph.D., describe a new approach to reentry practice and policy in the context of the processing of a criminal case. They view reentry planning as valuable at six points during the pendency of a criminal case and service of a sentence: decision making regarding pretrial release; plea bargaining and sentence negotiations; sentencing; jail and prison programming; the provision of supportive services at the time of release; and decision making regarding parole revocation. If such planning were systematically incorporated into these six phases of criminal case processing, people involved in the criminal justice system would be more likely to reintegrate into their communities successfully and maximize their capacity for productive citizenship. The authors argue that in order to unlock the potential of reentry as a vehicle to reduce reliance on incarceration and promote public safety, traditional sentencing must be replaced with a reintegration-focused sentencing model.

Click here to read Unlocking the Potential of Reentry and Reintegration.

Sentencing for Dollars

In New York, and all across the country, state legislatures are increasing existing fees, fines, and surcharges and creating new ones. Click here to learn more about policy considerations related to financial penalties.

New Financial Penalities

Just when CCA had listed and accounted for all of the financial collateral consequences in our recent brochure "Sentencing for Dollars," new financial consequences have been legislated. On August 20, 2004 New York Governor Pataki inserted three new financial penalties into the Penal/V&T Law via his Budget Bill. These new financial penalties are detailed below. Click here for a revised up to the minute version of Sentencing for Dollars, CCA's chart and explanation of all NYS financial penalties.

1) Supplemental Sex Offender Victim Fee
For all sex offender convictions there will now be a new fee, in addition to the mandatory surcharge, DNA Databank fee, crime victim assistance fee, SORA change of address fee, Sex Offender Registration fee, etc., to be known as the Supplemental Sex Offender Victim Fee. This additional fee is the result of an amendment to Penal Law §60.35.
This fee will be a whopping $1,000.00.

2) Youthful Offenders Made Subject to all Fees and Surcharges
As any first year law student knows, a YO adjudication is not a conviction. In the past the courts have treated a YO as exempt from all of the fees and surcharges contained in the Penal Law and Vehicle and Traffic Law. No longer. By an amendment to Penal Law §60.35 and Vehicle and Traffic Law §1809 all YO's are now subject to the same fees, penalties and surcharges as their adult counterparts.

3) Authority to Impose Local Surcharge
Because the State of New York has now decided to take the fines imposed on certain Vehicle and Traffic violations, money that previously went to the local subdivisions, the Governor has included legislation in his Budget Bill that magnanamously permits the local legislative body to enact a local law authorizing the imposition of an additional surcharge of up to $10.00 for violations which are subject to the mandatory surcharge imposed by Vehicle and Traffic Law §1809. This change is found in the newly created Vehicle and Traffic Law §1809-d.

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