FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2022
Brooklyn, NY—Common Justice released the following statement on Governor Hochul’s State of the State Address.
Common Justice is excited about the priorities Governor Hocul laid out in her 2022 State of the State address yesterday. We are delighted to see a commitment to important criminal justice reforms that will aid in easing the re-entry process and create true rehabilitation for those affected by incarceration in New York State.
We are elated that Governor Hochul has expressed her commitment to increasing the dollar amount that victims of violent crime can receive for Essential Personal Property (EPP) loss from $500 to $2500. This amount has not been increased since 1998, and must be altered to account for increases in cost of living. Another way that Governor Hochul and her fellow lawmakers can ensure survivors have access to healing funds is to pass S.7573/Myrie. This bill increases access to victim compensation funds for vulnerable populations by removing mandated interactions with law enforcement. It is crucial to create equitable opportunities to heal for all survivors.
Our organization is also thrilled to hear that the Governor has prioritized the passage of Clean Slate legislation. Research shows that after just one year with a clear record, individuals are 11% more likely to have a job and are earning wages that are more than 20% higher than if their record was not cleared. Common Justice’s direct services team regularly aids participants in obtaining employment. We know that removing convictions from records will ensure that everyone has an opportunity at a second chance. The passage of Clean Slate is long overdue.
We applaud Governor Hochul for pushing to restore the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) to incarcerated individuals. We cannot continue to exclude marginalized communities impacted by cyclical incarceration from access to higher education, especially when data demonstrates that the higher the level of the degree, the lower the recidivism rate.
Overall, there were a number of strong proposals mentioned during the State of the State that we believe will further criminal justice reform. We look forward to the enactment of these, as well as additional, community-driven legislation, that will promote healing and equity in our state.