Criminal justice ‘reforms’ are causing crime surge

To the Editor:
This is an open letter to Governor Kathy Hochul.

The Albany County Legislature’s Republican Conference would like to congratulate you on assuming office and becoming the first woman to lead New York as its governor.

We understand that you have a great deal on your plate as incoming governor, but we hope one of the first areas of your focus will be on the epidemic of crime.

Just yesterday, the Albany Police Department announced they were investigating a shooting that occurred early that morning in the city of Albany. Additionally, last week the local news reported two homicides — one in Albany and another in Bethlehem — just a short distance from the Governor’s Mansion and the State Capitol building. In our view, too many local officials are blaming guns, and ignoring the problems caused by so-called criminal justice reforms.

In Albany County, the sheriff has had to augment the police department in the city of Albany. They have to forgo their normal duties in the rest of the county to combat the surge of crime in the city. Our Albany County district attorney has also made informed and impassioned pleas for modifications to these laws, as he deals with their consequences every day.

Bail reform, discovery rules, raise the age, the release of violent criminals due to COVID, along with the demonization of police are all coming back to haunt us in the form of surging violent crime, including rapes, robberies, assaults, shootings, and homicides. Women, children and men have all been victims of these reforms.

We are told, repeatedly, these are all long-overdue justice measures for accused and convicted criminals, yet we have seen no such sympathy for the victims of these crimes. Often, all but the families and friends of the crime victims soon forget their names.

One of the most glaring problems with these “reforms” is the end of judicial discretion in setting bail. The same people who complained about inflexible state and federal sentencing guidelines for drug and violent crimes now refuse to compromise on needed changes to these laws.

We are not saying lock them up and throw away the key, and agree that many non-violent alleged criminals don’t need to be held until trial, but instead let our police, prosecutors, and judges work together to hold people who are a flight risk and/or a risk for more violence.

These well intentioned, one-size-fits all solutions are failing with deadly consequences for the victims. We believe the dual goals of ending bail abuses and keeping our citizens safe can be achieved with leadership at the state and local levels of government.

While you have a lot of areas that need your immediate attention, as governor you have nearly unlimited resources at your command. Keeping law-abiding citizens safe should be right at the top of the list.

Frank Mauriello

Minority Leader


Paul Burgdorf

Deputy Minority Leader


Legislator Todd Drake

Legislator Mark Grimm

Legislator Patrice Lockart

Legislator Jeff Perlee

Legislator Peter Tunny

Legislator Jennifer Whalen

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