Testimony

Testimony delivered at the New York City Council Committee on Public Safety Hearing
Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice
MARCH 30, 2017
In the last three years in New York City, we have seen an acceleration of the trends that have defined the public safety landscape in this city over the last three decades. While jail and prison populations around the country increased, New York City’s jail population has fallen by half since 1990. And in the last three years, the jail population dropped by 18% — the largest three year decline in the last twenty years. This declining use of jail has happened alongside record crime lows. Major crime has fallen by 76% in the last thirty years and by 9% in the last three. 2016 was the safest year in CompStat history, with homicides down 5%, shootings down 12%, and burglaries down 15% from 2015. New York City’s experience is continued and unique proof that we can have both more safety and smaller jails.


Testimony delivered at the New York City Council Committees on Public Safety and Courts and Legal Services Hearing
Sarah Solon, Deputy Director of Justice Initiatives for the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice
NOVEMBER 22, 2016      
Not only is New York City committed to fulsomely complying with a constitutional mandate to provide indigent defense services, we also see zealous, high-quality defense as crucial for a well-functioning, efficient, and fair criminal justice system. The City invests significant resources in providing high-quality indigent defense services. In Fiscal Year 2015, New York City spent more than $225 million on indigent representation. The City takes this investment seriously and is proud of its robust system for providing indigent defense, which serves the vast majority - over 90% - of the people who go through the City’s criminal justice system.


Testimony delivered at "Oversight Hearing: Using Evidence-Based Procedures and Technology to Keep Innocent People Out of Jail"
Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice
SEPTEMBER 23, 2016
Wrongful convictions are a critical matter of fairness and something that is important to every New Yorker. Wrongful convictions not only irrevocably damage the lives of those convicted, but also permit the perpetrators of a crime to go unpunished.  This both compromises public safety and erodes trust in the justice system. New York City has worked to ensure that policies related to custodial interrogations and eyewitness identification are developed with a key emphasis on ensuring fairness and maximizing reliability.


Testimony delivered at "Devising a Smart Supportive Housing Strategy for Ex-Offenders upon Reentry"
Trish Marsik, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Task Force on Behavioral Health and the Criminal Justice System
JUNE 13, 2016
While housing is foundational, it must be part of larger efforts to: 1) identify individuals with behavioral health needs at every point in the criminal justice system and connect them to appropriate care and 2) create a robust re-entry strategy for all individuals returning to New York City from prison and jail. I want to mention a few highlights from each strategy here, as they are necessary to ensure not only the long-term success of supportive housing but of overarching efforts to reduce the number of people who return to jail.


Testimony delivered regarding Intros 1147-2016 and 1150-2016
Alex Crohn, General Counsel of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice
MAY 3, 2016
To continue improving safety while avoiding unnecessary arrests and incarceration, our office is working to effectively match the right interventions to the right people at the right time. Central to this strategy is a comprehensive understanding of the risks and needs of various populations, an array of effective interventions, and the infrastructure to ensure that people are paired with the right service at the right time. The City supports the Speaker’s attention to reentry services in Intro.1150 and focus on services for survivors of crime in Intro. 1147 as both bills seek to enhance connection to appropriate and effective services for eligible populations.


Testimony delivered at the Preliminary Budget Hearing for Public Safety
Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice
MARCH 8, 2016
New York City’s experience over the last two decades stands in contrast to the rest of the country.  It is a continuing demonstration that we have had more safety with less enforcement and there may be room to move further in that direction...As we consider how best to invest public resources to promote safety, our city’s experience shows that we can have both more safety and less use of jail. A look at comparable European cities suggests that that it may be possible to have even safer neighborhoods and while deploying a still lighter criminal justice touch. To drive toward the balancing point between safety and the lightest possible criminal justice touch, my office is pursuing an array of initiatives.


Testimony delivered at "Examining Speedy Trials in New York City Courts"
Chidinma Ume, Associate Counsel of Justice Initiatives, Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice
FEBRUARY 29, 2016
New York City’s use of jail has declined precipitously in the last several decades. While jail and prison populations increased 11% between 1996 and 2013 in the rest of the country, New York City’s jail population fell by 53%...Given these dramatic drops in crime and jail use, only the most pernicious – and often difficult to solve – problems remain...The current challenge – one that the Mayor’s office has confronted head on – is to solve these difficult system problems that remain. Working to solve these problems will allow New York City both to continue to be the safest big city in the country and to reduce unnecessary detention even further.


Testimony regarding the Criminal Justice Reform Act
Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice
JANUARY 25, 2016
The key to driving down crime, arrests, and the unnecessary use of jail even further is matching the appropriate enforcement response to the situation. That is the principle that undergirds the reforms being discussed today: enhancing the spectrum of options available to police to match their response to the unique facts of each case, reserving the most serious enforcement responses for the cases that present the greatest danger. 


Testimony delivered at "Client satisfaction surveys for city-funded indigent legal services"
Alex Crohn, General Counsel of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice
DECEMBER 4, 2015

The City invests significantly in high-quality indigent defense. We take these investments seriously, and just as we approach every other part of the criminal justice system, we are committed to effectively measuring what works and what needs to be improved. Effective evaluation allows us to ensure that funding supports evidence-based practices and to track, refine, and increase accountability.


Testimony delivered at "Examining the Mayor's Plan to Address Violent Crime in Public Housing"
Amy Sananman, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety
NOVEMBER 30, 2015
Through the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety, the de Blasio administration is working to comprehensively strengthen neighborhoods in and around 15 New York City Housing Authority developments that have experienced some of the highest crime rates in the City. The MAP strategy recognizes the key importance of good policing – which includes both increases in patrol when appropriate, but also changes in the way the police interact with the neighborhoods such as wellness visits and having a role in community centers – but equally the importance of programming and physical improvements.


Testimony delivered regarding Intros 0823-2015 and 0826-2015
Christian Klossner, Executive Director of the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement
OCTOBER 30, 2015
Effective enforcement requires tactics calibrated for specific trends. OSE is looking to gather additional data about our enforcement efforts, the targets, and the outcomes in order to arm the City with a better understanding of the universe of violators and the effectiveness of our remedies, so that the City can respond appropriately.


Testimony delivered at "Higher Education Access for Incarcerated and Recently Incarcerated Individuals"
Alex Crohn, General Counsel of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice
SEPTEMBER 22, 2015

Educating inmates better prepares them for life after prison. Individuals face a host of barriers upon release, and increasing educational attainment can increase both employability and earnings, which has a number of collateral benefits. Research shows that prison education not only reduces recidivism but increases chances of employment when inmates enter the general population. There exists a strong empirical link between access to high quality educational programming and successful re-entry post-release. Successful re-entry leads to fewer repeat offenders and stronger neighborhoods, creating virtuous cycles that ensure enduring drops in crime.

Testimony delivered at "The Proliferation of Illegal Synthetic Cannabinoids: Health Impacts and Enforcement"
Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice
SEPTEMBER 21, 2015

Agencies working to implement this strategy have met biweekly since the beginning of August, and have devised a plan that addresses the complicated and multi-pronged nature of the public health and public safety issues that K2 presents. This multi-agency effort has already seized over 200 kilograms of the drug from sellers, is educating users and potential users about the dangers of using K2, and is working with the City Council to develop legislation to criminalize the sale of K2. My testimony will discuss these three strategies.


Testimony delivered at "Behavioral Health and the Criminal Justice System:  Examining New York City's Action Plan"
Trish Marsik, Executive Director for the Mayor's Task Force on Behavioral Health and the Criminal Justice System
MAY 12, 2015

To address this population more effectively and efficiently, the Task Force's recommendations are rooted in the recognition that these kinds of entrenched and recurring problems can only be addressed if the system is looked at as a whole and if the strategy recognizes that each part of the system has an effect on the other. The goal of these strategies is to ensure that, when there is no public safety risk that individuals with behavioral health disorders: do not enter the criminal justice system in the first place; if they do enter, that they are treated outside of a jail setting; if they are in jail, that they receive treatment that is therapeutic, rather than punitive; and that upon release, they are connected to effective services.


Testimony delivered to the New York State Assembly Standing Committees: on Codes; Judiciary; and Correction, as well as the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus
Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice
MAY 7, 2015

In New York City, we are working to systematically transform the criminal justice system so that we lighten its touch while promoting crime reduction. Restoring public trust and entrenching principles of legitimacy throughout the criminal justice system are the cornerstones of this strategy. If people trust the system to work and to do so fairly, this creates an enduring virtuous cycle that relies on informal social controls – neighborhood cohesion – rather than constant vigilance by police.
Testimony delivered at "Exploring School Climate and School Discipline Codes"
Vincent Schiraldi, Senior Advisor to the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice
APRIL 14, 2015
The mission of this task force is to recommend ways to further improve the climate for learning and enhance the well-being and safety of students and staff by using more effective methods of addressing disciplinary challenges than suspensions, arrests and summonses in the City’s public schools.  The Leadership Team is a collaborative effort involving multiple stakeholders – including representation from the City Council, city agencies, community members, unions, researchers, teachers, principals, students, parents and service providers – that will convene for a total of 12 months.
Testimony delivered at “New York City Council Fiscal Year 2016 Preliminary Budget, Mayor’s FY ’15 Preliminary Management Report and Agency Oversight Hearings”
Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice
MARCH 12, 2015

Traditionally, we have relied upon police – "boots on the ground" – to achieve these reductions in crime.  But to the extent that crime reduction is simply about controlling behavior and managing risk, we now know that there are a number of different strategies that can lead to lower crime while building trust and creating the strong neighborhoods necessary for enduring crime reduction.