ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON CODES
ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON CORRECTION
ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON ALCOHOLISM AND DRUG ABUSE
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
Oral Testimony by Invitation Only
As part of the SFY 2009-10 New York State budget, the legislature enacted significant reforms of the "Rockefeller Drug Laws." The reforms enacted in the budget significantly increased judicial discretion - authorizing judges to sentence many non-violent drug offenders to probation as a possible alternative to state prison. The legislation also created a statutorily defined, uniform judicial diversion program, expanded the availability of drug treatment courts and allowed certain non-violent drug offenders serving long terms of incarceration under the old drug laws to apply to the courts for possible resentencing.
Returning discretion to judges to sentence drug offenders to treatment as a potential alternative to prison has increased the need for community-based substance abuse treatment programs and alternative to incarceration services. Additionally, the demand for drug treatment courts has risen. According to the Division of Criminal Justice Services, 1000 persons who would likely have been sent to state prison were instead sentenced to an alternative sentence - 300 received a local jail sentence or probation while 700 were ordered into a court-monitored judicial diversion program.
In order to meet this increased need for substance abuse treatment and other alternative to incarceration programs, the SFY 2010-2011 state budget includes funding for outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment services, expansion of drug treatment courts, probation services and alternative to incarceration and reentry programs. The majority of funds provided to support Rockefeller Drug Law reform are derived from federal funds received as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
This hearing will provide an opportunity for the committees to hear from community-based programs, the courts and executive agencies about how the funds provided in the SFY 2010-2011 budget are being distributed and utilized, the implementation of the judicial diversion program, and what, if any, additional resources are needed to effectively implement the Rockefeller Drug Law reform legislation.
Persons invited to present pertinent testimony to the Committees should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation. Oral testimony will be accepted by invitation only and limited to ten (10) minutes duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committees will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to the Committees' staff as early as possible.
Twenty (20) copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committees would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements. In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committees' hearing. In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.
Member of Assembly
Chair, Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
Are there sufficient community-based substance abuse treatment programs available to serve individuals participating in the judicial diversion program as well as offenders in need of substance abuse services placed on probation? What additional resources, if any, are needed to ensure that persons diverted into treatment receive appropriate assistance?
What community-based programs are available to assist persons diverted from incarceration with the collateral consequences that can result from a criminal conviction such as loss of employment, loss of stable housing, inability to access necessary mental health and medical services and public benefits? How are such programs currently funded? What additional resources, if any, are needed?
Has state funding to support community-based substance abuse treatment services and alternative to incarceration programs been directed to the communities where the highest number of drug-related arrests and convictions occur? What efforts have been made to ensure that the communities most impacted by drug abuse and drug-related crime receive the necessary resources and services?
What steps have been taken to ensure that community-based programs that receive state funds to provide substance abuse treatment and alternative to incarceration programs have the cultural and linguistic competence to effectively deliver services to the populations most impacted by drug abuse and drug-related crime?
How are the community-based programs that are utilized by the courts identified and what is their role in the process of determining which offenders are appropriate for the judicial diversion program?
The judicial diversion program established in Article 216 of the Criminal Procedure Law provides judges with the discretion to sentence certain non-violent offenders with substance abuse issues to treatment as a potential alternative to incarceration. What specialized training has the Office of Court Administration (OCA) provided to judges? How has OCA coordinated with state agencies, such as the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and community-based treatment providers to help ensure the success of the judicial diversion program? What additional resources, if any, are necessary for the successful operation of the judicial diversion program?
Is the judicial diversion program being implemented consistently in both upstate and downstate counties? What steps are being taken to ensure that opportunities for diversion are available in all areas of the state?
The Rockefeller Drug Law reform legislation has resulted in an increase in persons being sentenced to local jail rather than state prison. What substance abuse treatment programs and resources are currently available in the community for persons released from local jails? Do the available resources adequately meet the needs of these persons released from local jails?
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