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March 20, 2018

Highlighting the Big Apple as a source for In Justice Today

My headline is a not-so-clever attempt to set up the fact that the latest two postings at the always great In Justice Today are focused on not-so-great criminal justice realities in New York.  Here are links to the two recent pieces with excerpts (and links from original): 

"NY Gov. Cuomo’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Plan to Protect Your Kids" by Guy Hamilton-Smith:

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently unveiled a legislative proposal packaged as part of a budget amendment to expand already onerous residency and presence restrictions for some sex offenders in New York.

The proposal expands blanket presence and residency restrictions for sex offenders who are on parole or post-release supervision by vastly increasing the number of places they cannot be near. It would outlaw the presence of some sex offenders within 1,000 feet of school grounds, “any facility or institution that offers kindergarten or pre-kindergarten instruction,” or any other place that is “used for the care or treatment” of minors. The proposal also prohibits level 2 and 3 sex offenders — those whom the state deems most at risk to re-offend — from staying at homeless shelters that serve families, even if they are no longer under supervision.

In dense urban environments like New York City, such restrictions — which make it illegal for sex offenders to merely exist in many places — are tantamount to banishment. While sex offender registries (and many of the restrictions that go along with them) have proven to be ineffective and inhumane, public defenders, experts, and advocates say that few restrictions are as ineffective and punitive as those proposed by Cuomo.

"Despite Leaders’ Progressive Promises, NYC Remains ’Marijuana Arrest Capital of the World’" by Shaun King:

In spite of committing to simply ticketing people for possession of small amounts of marijuana, last year the NYPD arrested an astounding 16,925 people for it. These were not drug lords and kingpins. These were the very low-level offenses they said they’d stop arresting people for.

Do the math. That’s 46 people a day. It’s an enormous waste of time and resources. And it’s horribly disingenuous to publicly make the claim that the arrests are coming to an end when clearly they aren’t.

This literally makes New York City “the marijuana arrest capital of the world,” according to a recent report from the Drug Policy Alliance. And a staggering 86 percent of those arrests are of men and women of color.

And let’s be clear — whites and people of color use drugs at roughly the same rate. Some studies even show that whites actually sell drugs at a higher rate, but people of color make up 86 percent of the arrests here in New York nonetheless.

This is a scandal. And Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD continue to contort themselves to blame anything they can possibly think of other than institutional racism for this racial gulf in arrests and prosecutions.

De Blasio criticized the Drug Policy Alliance report, pointing out that marijuana possession arrests dropped by 37 percent between 2013 and 2016. But that doesn’t explain away the nearly 17,000 arrests last year.

NYPD Chief James P. O’Neill recently said they were making the arrests because people don’t like the smell. Really, man? How about we start arresting people for farts too? Arresting people because someone doesn’t like the smell? That’s not even a good lie.

March 20, 2018 at 11:45 AM | Permalink


Guy is a strong, smart writer. Shaun King is an embarrassment to thought and crim law reform. The number he gives is from the 2017 stats, which obviously fails to prove that changes announced in 2018 aren't happening. He's not good with things like details, facts, time lines and rational arguments.

It's unfortunate that he's allowed to write for any credible source, or that anyone would take his writing seriously or credibly. He's not worthy.

Posted by: shg | Mar 20, 2018 6:04:43 PM

Cumo is running for President in 2020 and pedophiles are an easy target to beat up on so he came look tough on crime. One day there will be a reckoning against amoral SOBs like him.

Posted by: Selfie Man | Mar 20, 2018 6:36:05 PM

I have seen children without adults on every sidewalk of NYC.

I am interested in challenging laws that are not safe and effective as quackery. Quackery is a violation of Fifth Amendment due process. When Megan and Jessica were taken from us, they were inside their own homes. Jessica was sleeping in her bed, with her plush blue dolphin.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 21, 2018 7:36:52 AM

Let's stop with Nanny Big Government already. Let's promote actual freedom and personal accountability. F huge NBG.

No drug should be illegal. None. It is not your business what your neighbor decides to put into his or her body. If it is, I demand that we outlaw potato chips.

It is time to shut down the government drug business and their games.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Mar 21, 2018 1:54:37 PM

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