It's Catch and Release TIme for Criminals

Martin J. Golden

March 25, 2009

Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) Ranking Member on Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections Committee, today issued the following statement regarding the Governor’s New York State Commission on Sentencing Reform.

“New York State is going through a tough fiscal time. While we are going through this time, tough decisions must be made. As we make these difficult decisions, we have to take a balanced approach. However, what this commission has proposed makes me think of the game Monopoly. The Governor wants to give every violent, hardened criminal a ‘get out of jail free’ card.

“This Commission is sending the wrong message to those who break the law. The recommendations put forward by this report treats criminals like a fisherman treats a fish – catch and release. It is only a matter of time before releasing hardened criminals into our neighborhoods, coupled with closing prisons, results in a death of a law abiding citizen. How many families will be ripped apart by violent crime before the Governor realizes that releasing criminals back into the community is a recipe for disaster?

“The Commission on Sentencing reform throws around phrases like ‘graduated sanctions,’ and proposes “alternatives to jail” for drug dealers. The Commission wants to extend merit time which can be used for early release to violent felons. From what I can tell, the report sugar coats a reality for New York residents. The reality is that the Governor wants to let violent, hardened criminals out of jail. Those convicts are going to be moving back into our communities.

“New York State has a long, proud tradition of fighting crime to improve the quality of life for our residents. The report from the Commission on Sentencing Reform poses a direct threat to our public’s safety. Make no mistake. It is only a matter of time before one of these criminals commits another crime. We know that recidivism is about 60% for prior convicts. Those odds don’t sound good to me. I hope the Governor chooses to move slowly on these recommendations.