BDS Testimony before The New York City Human Resources Administration regarding CityFHEPS Program Eligibility Amendments
Permanent affordable housing is the foundation many New Yorkers, including the people we serve, need to find stability in their lives. Stable housing helps our clients favorably resolve their criminal cases and reunite with their children after ACS involvement, maintain jobs and allow children to remain in school. Now is the moment, when the housing and homelessness crisis is deepening, to implement changes that will ensure CityFHEPS vouchers are a true path to permanent housing. Vouchers are one important path to stable housing for many New Yorkers if key changes are made to strengthen the program. We urge HRA to strongly consider our recommendations.
View the full testimony here.
Commentary: Hochul’s justice system budget skimps on defenseThis loss of qualified public defenders, many of whom would have made this vital work their lifelong career if it was sustainable, is a threat to the people facing trial who deserve fair representation.In The NewsBail & Pre-Trial Incarceration
Public Defenders Lobby for Funding Parity With ProsecutorsNew York public defenders say a proposal by Gov. Kathy Hochul to flatline their funding in fiscal 2024 with $7.5 million, while substantially increasing money for district attorneys, is “unconscionable.”In The NewsBail & Pre-Trial Incarceration
BDS Testimony Before the New York City Board of Correction Regarding Public Meeting Frequency Resolution & Limits on Public CommentWe urge the Board to continue listening to the people who have been incarcerated in New York City jails and their families, as well as the many advocacy groups who rely on these public meetings to address and inform the Board about the conditions that people at Rikers are suffering and how that impacts our communities in New York City.Letters & Testimonies
NY Lawmakers Renew Push To Ban Predatory Court FeesNew York's mandatory fee structure was adopted in the 1980s as the state looked for new funding streams amid a national political climate that was generally supportive of tough-on-crime policies. Since the structure's adoption, the legislature has gone on to pass measures hiking the fees, which studies say have risen at a rate faster than inflation.In The NewsCourt Fees & Fines
Joint Statement in Response to Council Speaker Adrienne Adams State of the City Address Remarks on Funding for Public Defender, Civil Legal Services Organizations“When we are underfunded, it doesn’t just affect us, but the legal rights of every New Yorker. Because of this, we have successfully fought for years to expand legal counsel and support services to people beyond the legal system, to prevent system involvement in the first place."Press Releases
New York City Council Committee on Public Safety Regarding the NYPD’s Strategic Response GroupInstead of investing in improved services, schools, infrastructure, and community, heavily armed officers trained in paramilitary tactics are being moved into Black and brown, low-income neighborhoods.Letters & TestimoniesPolice Accountability
New York City Advocates and Legislators Push To End ‘Predatory Court Fees’“As public defenders, we see how our state’s reliance on predatory court fines and fees criminalizes poverty and extracts money from people who cannot afford it, creating a cycle of policing-for-profit that endangers lives. We urge the New York State legislature to pass the End Predatory Court Fees Act this session to end this unjust practice,” said Jacqueline Gosdigian, Senior Policy Counsel, Brooklyn Defender ServicesIn The NewsBail & Pre-Trial Incarceration
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP Partners With BDS Pro Bono Unit to Support Immigrants Fleeing Persecution and ViolenceSimpson Thacher’s volunteers researched and drafted country conditions reports for 16 people seeking asylum, withholding of removal, and Convention Against Torture (CAT) protection.Pro Bono
Hochul’s Budget Pads Prosecution Funding Without Match for Public DefenseHochul rejected a request from public defender organizations for parity funding, inflaming an already tense relationship between the increasingly tough-on-crime governor and those tasked with representing low-income criminal defendants.In The NewsDiscovery - Access to Evidence