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IND Resolution on Criminal Justice Reforms

A resolution calling on the New York State Legislature to pass the Earned Time Act (S.774/A.1128), Second Look Act (S.321/A.531), and Eliminate Mandatory Minimums Act (S.6471/A.2036A)

WHEREAS, the mission of the Independent Neighborhood Democrats (IND) includes “bring[ing] the people of the 52nd Assembly District into active participation in the political process; engag[ing] with neighborhood organizations and groups to foster a greater civic and political voice for our community, translat[ing] civic activity into positive political activity, encourag[ing] enrollment in the Democratic Party, and elect[ing] Democratic candidates responsive to the needs of the community;” and

WHEREAS, the General Membership of IND was moved by the presentation by the Center for Community Alternatives at the October 2023 Meeting; and

WHEREAS, IND has previously given its support for criminal justice reform measures; and

WHEREAS, currently, over 30,000 people are incarcerated in New York’s prisons and nearly 75% of them are Black or brown; and

WHEREAS, 98% of all convictions come through guilty plea – not a trial; and

WHEREAS, judges are currently restrained on the sentences they can give and;

WHEREAS, the Second Look Act (S.321/A.531) would allow judges to review and reconsider excessive sentences and incarcerated people to have the opportunity to demonstrate to a judge that they have transformed while under incarceration and/or to seek a reconsideration of their sentences based on changes in law and norms; and

WHEREAS, the Eliminate Mandatory Minimums Act (S.6471/A.2036A) would eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, allowing judges to consider the individual factors and mitigating circumstances in a case and addressing the outsize power of prosecutors to coerce plea deals; and

WHEREAS, the Earned Time Act (S.774/A.1128) would strengthen and expand “good time” and “merit time” laws to support rehabilitative efforts in state prisons; and

WHEREAS, over 150 civic, political, and civil rights organizations have given their support to the Second Look Act, the Eliminate Mandatory Minimums Act, and the Earned Time Act; and

WHEREAS, IND believes in providing more leeway for judges to provide sentences that will bring about restorative justice, rather than punitive justice. Now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Independent Neighborhood Democrats call on the New York State Legislature to pass and Governor Hochul to sign the Second Look Act, the Eliminate Mandatory Minimums Act, and the Earned Time Act.

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