March 29, 2022
CONTACT: Mariah McGough, firstname.lastname@example.org
VOCAL-NY APPLAUDS THE BPHA CAUCUS’ PUBLIC SAFETY PLAN, CALLS FOR INVESTMENTS IN HARM REDUCTION TO KEEP COMMUNITIES SAFE
NEW YORK — In response to the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus’ newly released “Impact-Based Ten-Point Plan for Public Safety,” VOCAL-NY releases the following statement, attributable to Kim Smith, Political Director:
“On behalf of the directly-impacted leaders and members across the state, we appreciate and value the Caucus’ commitment to VOCAL-NY’s vision of a caring and compassionate New York. The focus on permanent and supportive housing, care, and decarceration are exactly the kind of solutions that will make our communities safer – as opposed to increased policing, rolled back reforms, or millions towards a stadium.
We can’t have a conversation about public safety without recognizing the continued consequences of the War on Drugs and its impact on Black and Brown communities. Harm reduction strategies — like Overdose Prevention Centers and increased funding for Syringe Service Programs — fit perfectly alongside the Caucus’ solutions and can address the intersection of systemic racism and the drug war. We hope to see those strategies supported at the state and local level in order to keep our communities safe.”
The Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus’ plan comes as a rebuttal to Governor Hochul’s last ditch efforts to rollback bail reforms in the last days of the New York budget session. The Caucus’ plan on public safety echoes findings from New York City Comptroller Brad Lander released a report showing that rises in crime cannot be blamed on bail reform.
Bail reform caused an immediate—and significant—decrease in jail populations across New York State; numbers fell by nearly one-third in a matter of months. This means that people who, in the past, would have been in jail because they couldn’t afford bail were able to return to their families and their jobs while awaiting trial. These positive impacts were most heavily felt by Black New Yorkers and people living outside of New York City, who were most likely to be jailed before the reforms took effect.