The David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy (DRCPP) is excited to announce Fortune’s 2023 legislative priorities, calling on City and State lawmakers to remove discriminatory barriers for people with criminal justice involvement, expand access to services and legal protections for people with conviction histories and improve conditions inside jails and prisons.
This year’s priorities include:
Fair Chance for Housing – Int. 0632- 2022 – The Fair Chance for Housing Act would make it an unlawful, discriminatory practice for most New York City housing providers to perform criminal background checks. Currently, most people released from state prisons to New York City and many people released from Rikers Island end up in homeless shelters, creating a cycle of homelessness and instability that can prevent them from moving on with their lives. Because of discrimination based on criminal convictions, individuals and their families too often face rejection from housing that they should be eligible for even after years of constructive life in the community.
#CLOSERikers – An ongoing and desperate humanitarian crisis at Rikers Island has been decades in the making. We must ensure that the plan to close Rikers Island in 2027 is followed, upon completion and opening of a network of four modern, humane jail sites in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. We must also ensure that people incarcerated in our City jails are treated humanely.
Clean Slate NY – A.06399 – The measure would end the perpetual punishment and stigma of having a criminal conviction, reducing barriers to obtaining housing, employment, education and more. The Act, with some exceptions, would automatically clear a misdemeanor conviction three years after sentencing and a felony conviction seven years after sentencing, excluding time spent incarcerated and applying after completion of parole or probation. This automatic sealing would happen so long as the person has no pending charges or new convictions during the three- or seven-year period.
Youth Justice & Opportunities Act – A.3536A/ S.5749A – The measure would expand Youthful Offender status eligibility for people under age 25 who currently face the threat of permanent criminal convictions and adult prison sentences. Young people’s development continues through their mid-twenties. They should not face lifelong direct and collateral consequences, including a loss of future employment and access to stable housing, for mistakes made during maturation. Given that the vast majority of young people arrested in New York are Black and Latinx, this effort is critical to advancing racial justice.
Fortune will also advocate for the following legislative campaigns and other pieces of legislation in 2023:
Communities Not Cages, which includes:
Reentry from the Inside Out – A.7340/ S.8064 – This measure recognizes that “reentry” must start before people have been released from prison. Therefore, RIO would require the NY State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to coordinate with social service agencies and non-profits to assist with benefits applications before release, and would establish a pilot program to provide access to a range of reentry services before and after release.
Release Aging People in Prison, which includes:
13th Forward, which includes:
Treatment Not Jails – A.8524A/ S.2881B – which would expand access to judicial diversion for people with mental health issues and cognitive impairments.