In response to Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address, the New York Civil Liberties Union released the following statement, attributable to Executive Director Donna Lieberman:

“Governor Cuomo’s proposed criminal justice reforms embrace a cultural shift toward providing effective rehabilitation in prisons, giving people second chances and reducing the strain of mass incarceration of our state. But the critical missing piece is that we need to do more to keep people out of the prisons in the first place. The majority of New York counties struggle to provide the right to counsel, stacking the criminal justice system against poor people in violation of the Constitution and the basic principles of fairness and justice that is in the DNA of all New Yorkers. By supporting statewide public defense legislation, Governor Cuomo can make history as a progressive, practical and fair-minded leader of our great state and make New York a beacon for social justice and fairness. Moreover, time is long past to raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York, which is one of only two states in the country that treats children above the age of 16 as adults in the criminal justice system.”

“The governor should be praised for supporting key measures on behalf of New York’s workforce and we look forward to seeing concrete proposals. Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is an important, sensible and long overdue step toward making it possible for thousands of hardworking New Yorkers to support their families. Paid family leave is essential to the well-being of New York’s workforce, who too often must choose between caring for a family member and paying the bills.”

“The governor should also be commended for his proposal to fund humane, permanent approaches to homelessness by providing access to long-term housing and social services.”