No More Sweeps

In recent weeks, more reports have surfaced alleging that law enforcement agents have been targeting homeless shelters with warrant raids, arresting vulnerable New Yorkers who are just looking for a warm meal and a place to sleep. In this article, the Society’s own Adriene Holder and Tina Luongo reveal how these harsh tactics have a devastating effect on this city’s homeless.   

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Earlier this month, Mayor de Blasio’s office released the latest numbers on the administration’s controversial Housing New York plan.  Judith Goldiner, Attorney-in-Charge of the Society's Civil Law Reform Unit, explains that while the mayor’s plan is a step in the right direction, the city still needs to be more aggressive when it comes to helping at-risk New Yorkers, especially with the recent rise in homelessness.

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Following increased pressure from a number of community groups, advocates, and government officials, New York City authorities will take the first steps to ease punishments for fare evasion in the city’s subways. Tina Luongo, head of the Society’s Criminal Practice, makes the case for the movement to stop prosecuting subway fare-beaters, stating that the strict enforcement puts an undue burden on this City’s most vulnerable.

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A new State policy allows juries to consider photo arrays shown to witnesses as evidence during trials. While the change is being heralded as an important step forward by city officials, public defenders across the state share a different opinion. The Society’s Director of Criminal Defense Training, Peter Mitchell, talks about the many flaws of this new policy, including the frightening prospect of bias on behalf of witnesses, investigators, and juries.

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Data posted by the city at the start of this month shows an alarming increase in the allegations of sexual abuse in city jails. While the number of allegations more than doubled in 2016 compared to previous years, not a single staffer was charged. Dori Lewis of the Society’s Prisoners’ Rights Project sounds off against the Department of Corrections and their inability to curb this disturbing trend.

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