Last week, OAD delivered a Letter to New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, opposing his plan to impose draconian restrictions on people convicted of sex offenses. Yesterday, that Budget Amendment was the subject of an article in InjusticeToday -- NY Gov. Cuomo's Terrible, Awful, Very Bad Plan to Protect Your Kids -- explaining how and why "banishment" policies like the one Gov. Cuomo seeks to expand are not more likely to protect children.
The article quotes OAD's Attorney-in-Charge, Christina Swarns:
“It’s hard to believe that we are debating banishment as an acceptable public safety measure in 2018,” Christina Swarns, attorney-in-charge of New York’s Office of the Appellate Defender, which provides appellate representation to individuals convicted of felonies, told In Justice Today. “This conversation is particularly absurd given the overwhelming evidence that people convicted of sex offenses are more likely to re-offend when isolated and denied medical, social and economic supports. Banishment is a punishment that should remain in the dustbin of history.”
It also quotes OAD's Senior Staff Attorney, Lauren Stephens-Davidowitz:
While proponents of the Cuomo proposal suggest it targets those deemed most likely to re-offend, Lauren Stephens-Davidowitz, a supervising attorney with the Office of Appellate Defender, told In Justice Today that the risk assessment tool used by New York State has never been subject to scientific scrutiny. For example, it treats a sex offender’s status as a juvenile as an aggravating (rather than mitigating) factor in assigning a risk level. So it’s unclear if the risk levels assigned by authorities, such as the Level 2 and 3 categories, are based on criteria that are scientifically sound.