Andrea Karshan's Articles, New York, Politics

De Blasio Ramps Up Criminal Justice Reform

crime-scene-30112_960_720By Andrea Karshan

In order to help to take a bite out of crime,Mayor Bill de Blasio announced $32 million in targeted investments to aid District Attorneys city wide.

The package plans to give District Attorneys tools to combat the leading drivers of violent crime in each borough. It is the first in City history to explicitly include resources to measure which prosecution strategies are most effectively in reducing violence.

Some issues that the plan prioritizes are reducing violence committed by inmates in City jails, increasing convictions in domestic violence cases, ensuring that shooters remain off the streets and tackling the heroin and prescription drug crises.

In Brooklyn, $1.6 million will be spent to expand the crime strategies unit; enhance the forensic science unit; enhance audit and procurement units; and resources for records management and storage.

“Strategic, evidence-driven thinking has brought crime down in New York City for years, and we remain committed to reducing crime even further. I am confident that this initiative will help support prosecutors in our city as they work to maximize their effectiveness in addressing violent crime,” said de Blasio.

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said to ensure the safety of the over 2.5 million residents of Brooklyn, the funding announced today reinforces our efforts to combat gun violence and strengthen prosecutions to keep dangerous criminals off our streets.”

“By expanding Brooklyn’s Crime Strategies Unit and enhancing our forensic science capabilities, the prosecutors and investigators in my office are now able to do more to keep Brooklyn safe,” said Thompson.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams said dedicated police officers walking the beat and detectives investigating crimes depend on prosecutors to keep the criminals who have been caught away from our neighborhoods.

“During my days in NYPD blue, standing on our city’s street corners, I found people that had arrested for violent crimes were back on the street before the arrest report had been processed; we cannot accept that standard of safety in our communities. A sustained investment of resources to keep dangerous criminals locked up, particularly domestic abusers as well as individuals who possess illegal guns and have previously evaded conviction, is of vital importance to our shared goal of ensuring New York City is a safer place to raise healthy children and families,” said Adams.

Council Member Vincent J. Gentile (Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights) said as a former assistant DA, he knew firsthand how vital it is to have an appropriate budget to get things done on both a criminal justice and public safety level.

“Whether it’s implementing anti-violence prosecution strategies, drug prevention programs, acquiring valuable resources to conduct casework or hiring highly qualified staff, having sufficient funds for a DA’s operation is paramount towards successful investigations, prosecutions and borough wide safety,” said Gentile.

This package followed a series of targeted investments and implemented initiatives over the last year by the Mayor’s office including Project Fast Track, focused on keeping shooters off the streets and a $10 million investment, over five years, in the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s office.

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