CM Gibson Holds Press Conference Celebrating Baselining of Additional $21.9 Million for City’s Prosecutors

Bronx, NY – Chair of the Committee on Public Safety Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson joined Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, Richmond County District Attorney Mike McMahon, and Bronx domestic violence service providers on the steps of the Bronx County Court House to hold a press conference celebrating the baselining of an additional $21.9 million in funding for the city’s prosecutor’s in New York City’s FY17 budget.
Council Member Gibson led the Council’s negotiations with the Administration to increase and baseline funding for city prosecutors. In addition to numerous conversations with the Mayor, the Speaker, and OMB, Council Member Gibson partnered with Council Minority Leader Council Member Steven Matteo in a bipartisan effort to rally colleagues’ support for the cause. Ultimately, a letter with 37 signatures was delivered to the Mayor and Speaker in support of increasing DA funding in the finalized budget.
Specifically, the funding will provide:
  • The Bronx County DA with a vertical integration system, a Rikers Island Prosecution Bureau, a Domestic Violence Unit, and a Conviction Integrity Unit;
  • The Richmond County DA with a Community Partnership Unit, dedicated Elder Abuse and Domestic Violence Units, additional staff to address Staten Island’s opioid epidemic, and a modernized case management system;
  • The Queens County DA with additional office space  funding for an Anti-Gun Violence Initiative, additional staff in the Appeals Bureau and Detective Squad, and an enhanced IT system;
  • The Kings County DA with addition resources to expand both the Crime Strategies and Forensic Science Units; and
  • The New York County DA with funding for Alternatives to Incarceration Unit.
Chair of the Committee on Public Safety Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson said, “District Attorneys are the anchor of our criminal justice system and their work is critical to the safety of our communities. The many criminal justice, correctional, and law enforcement reforms my colleagues and I have worked to enact over the past two years would have been for naught if we had failed to fully meet the needs of our prosecutors. I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio for recognizing our City is safer with fully funded district attorneys’ offices and thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and all of my  Council Colleagues – especially Minority Leader Council Member Steve Matteo, Courts and Legal Services Chair Council Member Rory Lancman, and all of the members of the Bronx and Staten Island Delegations – for their partnership in ensuring New York City’s District Attorneys have the resources to ensure that all cases before their offices are handled effectively, efficiently and expeditiously.”
Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark said, “City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson championed our request for the Bronx to get its fair share of city funding, which will help us to create a 21st century District Attorney’s Office to serve the people of the Bronx more efficiently, compassionately and fairly.”
Richmond County District Mike McMahon said “Each day, Staten Island faces a multitude of criminal justice challenges, from the tragedy of our heroin epidemic, to the dramatic rise in domestic violence cases as well as the onslaught of gun and street violence. While my office has already taken steps to fight back against these issues, we found ourselves in need of additional resources in order to fully address the root of our crime and drug problem. With this increase in funding from the City, I am confident that my office will be able to better protect and serve the people of Staten Island. I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, Minority Leader Councilman Steven Matteo, Council Member Debi Rose and Councilman Joe Borelli, as well as Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark and Public Safety Chair Council Member Vanessa Gibson for their extraordinary support and leadership in helping to secure this funding.”
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. said: “I want to thank Public Safety Committee Chair Gibson for her leadership and strong commitment to investing in the District Attorneys’ Offices, which will help keep violent crime low and ensure fairer outcomes for those who come into contact with the justice system. My Office was very pleased to secure funding to establish a new Alternatives to Incarceration Unit – the first unit of its kind in New York City – and we are committed to sharing the information that it gathers on effective programs and alternative approaches with our colleagues in law enforcement citywide. The new ATI Unit will identify and assess diversion and supervision options for defendants charged with low-level crimes, help prosecutors reach community-based dispositions in appropriate cases, and advance our efforts to provide safe alternatives to incarceration.”
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said, “The safety of millions of Brooklyn residents will be reinforced with this funding as we continue to strengthen our efforts to combat gun violence and prosecute dangerous criminals. The expansion of Brooklyn’s Crime Strategies Unit and the enhancement of our forensic science capabilities ensures that the prosecutors and investigators in my office are able to do more to keep our borough safe.”
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said, “I want to thank Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson and her colleagues for their efforts in securing the much-needed funding necessary to support our new initiatives and to adequately fund our core functions.  The appropriation of these funds will provide us with the ability to respond to the many new and emerging areas in criminal activity around us and to continue to fulfill our constitutional and statutory obligations and recognizes the important role that we as prosecutors play in making the justice system work for the benefit of all New Yorkers.”
City Council Minority Leader Council Member Steve Matteo said, “Whether it is battling the opioid addiction epidemic that has gripped Staten Island, deterring youth violence in Brooklyn or establishing a bureau in the Bronx to deal with ongoing problems at Riker’s Island, the funding boost we have secured will provide much-needed resources for enforcement, prevention and the administration of justice in this city. More importantly, these additional funds are now baselined into the district attorneys’ budgets, so they will not have to come back to us, year after year, to plead for the money to keep these essential programs going – including Treatment Alternatives for a Safer Community (TASC), a program that is vital to the success of Staten Island Drug Court. I am proud to have worked closely with the administration, Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon, Council Public Safety Committee Chair Vanessa Gibson, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and my Council colleagues to make this go from a budget negotiation priority to a budget reality.”
Chair of the Committee on Courts and Legal Services Rory Lancman said,”Our district attorneys play a critical role in protecting the public and creating a fairer criminal justice system. This funding delivers on their requests for a dedicated anti-gun violence unit in Queens and Rikers Island unit in the Bronx, a focused effort on combating opioid abuse in Staten Island, and other local initiatives tailored to each borough’s needs.”
Council Member Debbi Rose said, “Dedicating additional funds to our District Attorney’s office was one of my top priorities going into budget negotiations. Not only do we need resources to combat gun violence, but we are also facing domestic violence and opioid addiction crises, both of epic proportions, with rates that reach or exceed those of the other four boroughs. Our DA’s office has historically lacked the funds to properly track and address these issues. In the Fiscal Year 2017 budget, I’m proud to have secured an unprecedented funding increase that will give the DA’s office the tools to fight these head on.”
(1) Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark at press conference celebrating the baselining of an additional $21.9 million in funding for the city's prosecut

Photo by Jeff Reed/NYC Council

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