Mayor Adams Signs 5 Bills Strengthening Criminal Justice Programs, And More

March 14, 2023

 New York City Mayor Eric Adams today signed five pieces of legislation.

Two that will provide support and accountability for criminal justice programs and Crisis Management System (CMS) providers that receive city funding, one that will create a juvenile justice board, one that will ensure mental health services are provided in shelters serving families with children, and one that will lower interest rates for property tax arrears owed by low- and moderate-income homeowners.

Intros. 439 and 756 will ensure greater accountability of and support for CMS providers by requiring the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) to evaluate the performance of criminal justice programs receiving city funding and to provide training and operational support to CMS providers. Intro. 436 will strengthen the juvenile justice system by establishing a juvenile justice board. Intro. 522 will ensure greater mental health resources for New Yorkers living in shelters by requiring mental health professionals to provide either onsite or telehealth support to families with children living in shelters. Intro. 524 will provide relief for low- and moderate-income homeowners by lowering interest rates for property tax arrears owed by properties assessed at $250,000 or less that have entered into a payment plan with the city.

“The prerequisite to prosperity is public safety, and our administration has already made significant strides in making our city safer and more prosperous for all New Yorkers,” said Mayor Adams. “The five bills we are signing today help struggling homeowners, give young people a voice in juvenile detention, support our families and children living in shelters, and provide support for our gun violence interrupters. I thank Speaker Adams and the sponsors of these bills for their partnership.”

“The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice is proud to partner with a number of community-based organizations that provide critical services to New Yorkers, from violence interruption to reentry services for those returning from incarceration,” said MOCJ Director Deanna Logan. “Intros. 439 and 756 will help us support these organizations to fulfill their missions by equipping them with the tools to succeed, while providing greater oversight to ensure efficient and proper use of city resources.”

“Mental health services are critical to helping vulnerable New Yorkers stabilize their lives in a shelter, and Intro. 522 will help further enhance the range of meaningful supports we offer to all of our clients, including onsite or offsite linkages to mental health services for families with children residing in a shelter,” said New York City Department of Social Services Acting Commissioner Molly Wasow Park. “We thank Councilmember Bottcher for his partnership on this legislation, which reaffirms our commitment to leaving no stone unturned in our ongoing efforts to support families with children experiencing homelessness.”

“The Department of Finance is committed to working with homeowners who owe property tax arrears and offers several options for payment plans,” said New York City Department of Finance (DOF) Commissioner Preston Niblack. “Intro. 524 will help provide more breathing room for low- and moderate-income homeowners while ensuring the city can recoup this critical source of revenue.”

Intro. 439 — sponsored by New York City Councilmember Nantasha Williams — requires MOCJ to evaluate the performance of organizations that receive funding from the city for criminal justice services, such as alternatives to incarceration, reentry services, pretrial supervised release, and violence prevention programming. MOCJ is required to submit a report summarizing these evaluations to the mayor and the City Council annually.

Intro. 756 — sponsored by New York City Councilmember Kamillah Hanks — will require the Office for Neighborhood Safety and the Prevention of Violence, in consultation with MOCJ, to provide training and operational support to CMS providers. This effort will include offering training on to the delivery of services and nonprofit administration and capacity building, providing referrals to technical support ranging from business services to human resource assistance, facilitating collaboration between CMS stakeholders, and providing information related to voluntary trainings and relevant certifications for service provider employees.

Intro. 436 — sponsored by New York City Councilmember Althea Stevens — will create a juvenile justice advisory board, consisting of 20 members, to advise and provide recommendations to the mayor, the City Council, and the New York City Administration for Children’s Services on issues related to juvenile justice. This bill would require the board to annually report to the mayor and the speaker a description of its activities, the results of its review and recommendations, and any challenges in providing oversight and feedback.

Intro. 522 — sponsored by New York City Councilmember Erik Bottcher — will require each shelter serving families with children to provide either onsite or telehealth mental health services.

Intro. 524 — sponsored by New York City Councilmember David Carr — will authorize the New York City Banking Commission to recommend, and the City Council to adopt, an interest rate applicable to the property tax arrears that accrue while an eligible property — defined as a property where the primary homeowner has an annual income of $200,000 or less, with an assessed value of $250,000 or less — is the subject of a valid payment agreement plan with the DOF. The rate recommended by the Banking Commission must be at least equal to the most recently determined federal short-term interest rate rounded to the nearest half percent. The DOF will also be required to conduct outreach for the new rate and report back to the mayor and the speaker.

“I’m so proud that the City Council passed and Mayor Adams has signed my third bill, groundbreaking legislation that will put mental health services in every family homeless shelter in New York City,” said New York City Councilmember Erik Bottcher. “Mental health services saved my life and they should be available to everyone, regardless of their circumstance. I want to thank WIN, the city’s largest provider of shelter for women and children, and their president and CEO, Christine Quinn, for bringing this issue to our attention and working with us over the past year to develop this legislation and Mayor Adams for his support.”

“For far too long, this city has imposed the same high interest rates intended to punish tax scofflaws on struggling middle- and working-class families who have fallen behind on their bills,” said New York City Councilmember David Carr. “This legislation will put that to an end by allowing us to set a separate interest rate that will help those homeowners who are making good faith efforts to pay their tax debt, rather than burying them in it. I thank Mayor Adams for his leadership in signing this historic legislation today.”

“These bills are a significant achievement in strengthening our Crisis Management System and creating safer communities for all New Yorkers,” said New York City Councilmember Kamillah Hanks. “I’m proud to have sponsored Intro. 756, which will provide crucial training and support to the CMS providers. Investing in their capacity will ensure they have the tools they need to reduce gun violence and other forms of harm. I’m grateful to my colleagues and Mayor Adams for their partnership on these critical issues.”

“We often talk about the importance of giving our young people a voice and choice. For justice-involved youth, this is of the utmost importance as they are already engaged with a system that takes away much of their autonomy,” said New York City Councilmember Althea Stevens. “I am so excited to be passing Intro. 436 with my colleagues to create a juvenile detention advisory board to ensure justice-involved youth and their families have a seat at the table when decisions are being made. Although I am so proud to be passing this bill, this is just the first step, and I look forward to working with this advisory board to develop new preventative and diversion strategies. We must get to a place where we are investing in our young people on the front end, so we don’t need to invest in them on the back end.”

“The New York City criminal justice system has implemented numerous programs to enhance public safety, including alternatives to incarceration, reentry or diversion programs, pretrial supervised release services, and crisis management groups,” said New York City Councilmember Nantasha Williams. “While these programs offer a more comprehensive approach to justice, there is no transparency due to the lack of publicly available data. To make our city safer, we need to understand which programs are working and which ones are not. I am urging the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice to evaluate the performance of criminal justice programs receiving city funding annually and report the findings to not only the mayor’s office but also the New York City Council and the public as well. This will ensure that the information that is allegedly already being collected is now readily available and accessible, providing transparency amongst all parties.”

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