Assembly 2019-20 Budget Includes Funding to Combat Gang Violence and Invests in Programs to Help New Yorkers Navigate the Criminal Justice System

Speaker Carl Heastie and Codes Committee Chair Joseph R. Lentol today announced the Assembly State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2019-20 Budget invests in combating gang violence in our communities, and includes critical funding for programs that help New Yorkers navigate the criminal justice system.

“The Assembly Majority is committed to ensuring that our criminal justice system works for everyone, and we are proud that our long fights for laws like Raise the Age and reforming indigent legal services have moved us in that direction,” Speaker Heastie said. “Our budget builds on that work by making important investments in our communities to address the root causes of violence, while also funding grants and programs to ensure every New Yorker is treated with dignity and respect by our criminal justice system.”

“New Yorkers should be confident they will be treated equitably by our criminal justice system,” Assemblymember Lentol said. “This spending plan funds critical programs that will make that a reality. The Assembly Majority will continue fighting to modernize our justice system and promote economic fairness.”

The Assembly spending plan funds programs to combat gang violence and support public protection in communities, including a total of $20 million for anti-gang and other youth programs. 

The Assembly provides $4.8 million for the SNUG program, which focuses on identifying youths who are gang members or at risk for joining gangs, and provides participants with conflict resolution skills, case management services and helps defuse incidents of violence, while promoting self-sufficiency.

The Assembly proposal adds $200,000 to establish a Gun Violence Research Institute.  The Assembly’s budget also restores $2.83 million in Legal Services Assistant Fund (LSAF) support for civil and criminal legal service grants. The Assembly adds $3 million to the Indigent Legal Services budget to support parental representation in family court.

In the SFY 2019-20 spending plan, the Assembly provides $8.8 million to support various legislative restorations, including:

  • $1.06 million for the New York State Defenders Association;
  • $992,000 for Westchester County Policing;
  • $750,000 for Prisoners’ Legal Services;
  • $609,000 in domestic violence related civil and criminal legal services support;
  • $600,000 for immigrant legal services;
  • $500,000 for Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) programming;
  • $441,000 for Aid to Defense; and
  • $147,000 for rape crisis centers.

“Criminal justice reform is one of my top legislative priorities,” Speaker Heastie said. “The Assembly Majority remains committed to reforming the state’s antiquated criminal justice system by implementing discovery reform, ending cash bail, reforming speedy trial rights and reducing solitary confinement. I look forward to taking up these life-changing bills outside the budget process.”

The Assembly Majority has a long history of fighting for criminal justice reform, including championing revisions to Rockefeller drug laws, Raise the Age, expanding access to and improving the quality of indigent legal services and supporting immigrant legal services. Already this year, a number of reforms have passed, including the Child Victims Act, the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act, several gun safety measures and legislation criminalizing revenge porn.