New York, NY - NYC Will No Longer Arrest, Instead Will Issues Summonses For Low-Level Offenses
New York, NY - Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., New York City Police Department Commissioner William J. Bratton, and Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a new initiative to change how individuals who commit low-level offenses are processed in Manhattan.
Beginning on Monday, March 7, 2016, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will no longer prosecute most violations or infractions, and the NYPD will no longer arrest individuals who commit these offenses – such as littering, public consumption of alcohol, or taking up two seats on the subway – unless there is a demonstrated public safety reason to do so.
This initiative will enable the NYPD to devote its resources to investigating serious crimes, while further reducing the backlog of cases in Criminal Court. The issuance of summonses instead of arrests is expected to result in the diversion of approximately 10,000 arrests that would be prosecuted in Manhattan Criminal Court.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., said: “Through this initiative, we are devoting our resources to best protect and serve New Yorkers. By ensuring courts are not unnecessarily bogged down with minor offenses committed by those who pose no threat to public safety, we help focus police and prosecutorial resources on those who commit serious crimes. By giving cops the discretion to issue summonses instead of requiring them to make arrests, we ensure they do not spend hours processing cases as minor as littering, and we enable officers to get back to patrolling, investigating, and keeping our neighborhoods safe. And by reducing unnecessary incarceration, we make our criminal justice system fairer for all New Yorkers.”
NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton said: “This new policy in Manhattan will save valuable police resources. Police officers can now quickly return a person to court on a warrant and, at the same time, adjudicate their current summonsable offense, all without jeopardizing the public safety.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio said: “Using summonses instead of arrests for low-level offenses is an intuitive and modern solution that will help make sure resources are focused on our main priority: addressing threats to public safety. Today’s reforms allow our hardworking police officers to concentrate their efforts on the narrow group of individuals driving violent crime in New York City. This plan will also help safely prevent unnecessary jail time for low-level offenses.”
New York State Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks said: “This is a common sense approach that will reduce the borough’s overburdened Criminal Court docket without compromising public safety. As a result, it will better enable the Criminal Court to devote its limited resources to the handling of more serious offenses, improving outcomes in those cases. I commend District Attorney Vance and Commissioner Bratton for their wisdom in taking this important step.”
Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, said: “New York City continues to prove that we can have both more safety and fewer arrests. Thanks to DA Vance and his team for both their leadership in taking this important and bold step forward and for their cooperative problem solving with the many agency partners necessary to realize success. This approach will further the work to calibrate enforcement accurately to the specific situation and ensure that public safety resources are targeted toward the few individuals driving this City’s crime.”
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