Senator Dale M. Volker Announces Senate Passage Of Public Protection Budget Bill

William T. Stachowski

March 29, 2005

(Albany, NY) Senator Dale M. Volker (R-I-C, Depew) today announced Senate passage of the Public Protection Budget Bill (S.550-E) that would strengthen public safety in New York.

"The State Senate has been at the forefront of creating, funding, and administrating smart and effective criminal justice policies that have proven to reduce crime, prevent murders, and make New York State one of the safest states in the entire nation," said Senator Dale M. Volker. New York continues to see record lows of criminal behavior. This is a testament to the men and women of law enforcement, as well as the State of New York’s commitment for funding criminal justice programs with proven records."

Below is a summary of the major elements of the Public Protection Bill passed by the State Senate today:

Department of Correctional Services -- Provides $1.8 million to avoid the closure of the Groveland Annex Correctional Facility and $500,000 to avoid the closure of the Greene Special Housing Unit (SHU). In addition, the Legislature provides $7 million for Camp Pharsalia, $6 million for Camp Mt. McGregor, $6.7 million for Fulton, and $400,000 for the Watertown SHU. These facilities were scheduled to close 90 days after the enactment of the 2005-06 state budget, but these funds will allow them to remain open.

The budget also requires the Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services to provide an annual report containing detailed information related to the staffing of correctional facilities, and would require one year prior of any closure of a correctional facility and calls for the Department to undertake certain actions prior to the closure.

Division of Criminal Justice Services -- The Legislature denies the Executive's proposal to merge the Department of Probation and Correctional Alternatives (DPCA) with the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). The Legislature also denies the $3 million proposed funding for the Automated Speed Enforcement Program. This rejection is in line with the Legislature's rejection of the proposal to implement automated photo monitoring at work zones, dangerous stretches of highways and local authorization for additional red light cameras.

Additional funding is also provided for the following programs: $180,000 for the Wyoming County Indigent Parolee Program; $500,000 for the Education Assistance Corporation; $75,000 for the Erie County District Attorney Comprehensive Assault Abuse Rape Program; $200,000 for the Monroe County Forensic Crime Laboratory; $50,000 for the Onondaga County District Attorney Witness Protection Program; $184,000 for the Onondaga County District Attorney Information Technology Case Management and Regional Police Information Sharing; $196,000 for the Manhattan District Attorney Crimes Against Revenue, and $98,000 for the Oneida County District Attorney.

The Legislature amends the Executive's proposal which authorized the DCJS to post information regarding all registered sex offenders on the Internet and to annually update photos for all registered sex offenders. The Legislature proposes to annually update photos for level three offenders, and to update photos for level one and two offenders every three years. This proposal, and other proposed revisions to Megan's Law, will be discussed between the respective houses after the enactment of the State Budget.

Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence -- The Legislature concurs with the Executive's All Funds request of $2.4 million and restores $210,000 in funding for Battering Prevention Programs.