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National

Can we banish our way to public safety? [The Appeal by Kyle Barry]

[mailchi.mp/theappeal – 2/20/20]

This month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a plan to curb public lewdness, groping, and other unwanted touching on New York City’s public transit: a three-year ban on “repeat and high-risk sexual offenders” from the city’s subways, buses, and trains. “MTA riders deserve to feel safe, and we have an obligation to ensure they will not be targeted by sex offenders,” he said. “Enough is enough.”

It’s not the first time Cuomo has endorsed the idea. Last year, he described a sex offender subway ban as “common sense.”

Many see the proposal as more political grandstanding than a serious policy solution. For one, targeting repeat offenders doesn’t match the reality of the problem, wrote Guy Hamilton-Smith in The Appeal. “More than 95 percent of reported and cleared sex offenses in New York State are attributable to first-time offenders. Most people who are held accountable for sexual offenses do not reoffend. In data compiled by the NYPD, most of those arrested in 2016 and 2017 for subway sex offenses had no prior sex offense arrest record, never mind convictions.”

Others, including the Legal Aid Society, have argued that a sweeping ban would be not only ineffective but harmful and discriminatory. “Advocates worry a ban could unfairly impact already-marginalized people—including the homeless and the mentally ill, who sometimes seek refuge in the subways—and be used against defendants who are innocent of their accused crimes, but plead guilty to avoid jail time,” Jeanmarie Evelly wrote in City Limits. “They fear it could disproportionately impact people of color, as has been the case with the NYPD’s fare evasion enforcement.”

Indeed, a ban from public transit, in a city that so heavily depends on it, would further isolate people, eliminating access to employment, education, health services, and other pathways to rehabilitation and stability. “Cutting people off from resources, support, and community has the unsurprising effect of making it more likely that someone will commit another offense,” wrote Hamilton-Smith. “In New York City, where millions rely on mass transit, banishment would effectively cripple the ability of those exiting the criminal legal system to reintegrate.”

And these concerns don’t even include the potential consequences for violating such a ban, which, like the crackdown on fare evasion, could serve as yet another means of criminalizing the act of using public transportation.

Read the full article

 

Join the discussion

  1. Eric

    This would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic, as NY is in the midst of a massive surge of violent crime due to the absurdly dysfunctional bail reform put in place by De Blasio and Cuomo. Men who the police won’t even stand and face they harbor so much contempt and disrespect.

    A habitual violent criminal with 126 prior arrests including gun charges was released the same day because the poor young man couldn’t afford bail, so De Blasio feels that is discrimination so he let him go. The perp did another crime that same day. Another man with 6 arrests this year already was quoted as saying “This bail reform is the hit! They can’t keep me now.”

    But what does a failed politician do that has a low IQ, no vision for the future, has lost public support, and has an election coming up? Well, they cry Sex Offender and immediately garner some support from the misinformed and hysterical public. De Blasio is a failed mayor, had a filed attempt at thinking he could destroy our country as he has NY, and has the entire police department against him, so he is desperate. Even lilberal democrats are shaking their heads at his failed bail reform policy and the rise in violent crime. So yeah, a bill targeting people on the registry–the only minority group that is fair game for discrimination–was to be expected,

    • Will Allen

      I’m not the bail reform expert that you clearly are, however I’m pretty sure that you are completely wrong. As I understand it, the reform was just about the $$$$$ part.

      Before and after reform the state was saying “we think it is okay that this person gets out of jail”. The difference is that before bail reform they were saying “but he/she has to have $$$ to do it”. That’s all.

      I do understand that bail companies, lawyers, and especially the criminal regimes who love to force plea agreements instead of having to prove anything really hate it that people can get out of jail without helping their agenda. I get that.

      And “entire police department against him”? Good. F those criminals every day.

    • Axiom

      Registered sex offenders benefit from bail reform too. This is an example of “rising tides lift all boats.” Sure, some violent offenders are lifted by the tide, but so are we. You probably don’t want to hear this, but we’re still CONVICTED CRIMINALS. It’s does no good dwelling on other criminals who get breaks. As long as we get the break too.

  2. The Vampire

    Yes you can!! Just ask any jew. Who liven thew it!! We have our own holocaust in this USA. People who have too hide and trust other
    People too help them!

  3. kat

    Yo, Gov. Cuomo-
    Those pats on the behind, the inconspicuous grope as you walk by, the guy pressing up against you on the subway, the guys who stare and whisper on the train,…they’re not registrants or repeat offenders. Instead, they’re the guys in suits and ties going to their corporate jobs, the guys with wives and kids at home, the guys who think it’s OK to sexually harass women because that’s just an innocent “guy thing”.
    Those are the guys that you need to watch out for, those are the ones who should be banned from public transportation.

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