2010-2011 Executive Budget – Briefing Book

Public Safety

I. Overview

The State protects New York’s residents through various public safety agencies. With an annual budget of nearly $5.0 billion, these agencies assist local communities in fighting crime, supervise criminal offenders both in prison and in the community, patrol the highways, protect critical State assets, and respond to natural disasters and terrorist threats. With nearly 40,000 staff, many of whom serve within the State’s 68 correctional institutions, public safety agencies comprise 18 percent of the overall State workforce.

II. History/Context

Between 1999 and 2008, New York experienced one of the greatest decreases in both crime and incarceration of any state in the nation during that period. Over these ten years, New York State’s crime rate declined 28 percent or twice the national average. Each year during this period, the actual number of crimes reported fell until reaching the lowest levels ever recorded in 2007, before rising slightly in 2008. There were 139,726 fewer crimes reported in 2008 than in 1999, while the population of the State increased by 1.3 million.

Simultaneously, the State’s prison population fell from a peak of 71,600 in 1999 to less than 59,000 currently. New York is one of 20 states nationwide to experience a decline in its prison population, and led the nation with the largest rate of decrease in 2008. Notably, the decline is not the result of extraordinary new release policies, but rather from a real reduction in crime and the success of re-entry programs.

At the same time, spending for public safety programs grew by 43 percent, of which half was dedicated to prison operations, with recent increases driven primarily by enhanced mental health, sex offender, and medical programs. Another 21 percent of this increased funding supported growth in State Police operations.

III. Proposed 2010-11 Budget Actions

During 2010-11, the prison system will continue to consolidate and eliminate excess capacity, reflecting the continuing decline in the prison population. The proposed closures and consolidations will eliminate approximately three percent of total capacity and two percent of the staff of the Department of Correctional Services.

The budget also proposes restructuring the operations of public safety agencies to deliver improved services with greater efficiency. The creation of two consolidated agencies – one for criminal justice services, and one for emergency management and homeland security – positions the public safety community to leverage its combined strengths. As a result of these initiatives, the public safety agencies will:

IV. Summary of Spending (All Funds)

Category 2009-10
($ in millions)
($ in millions)
(in millions)
Public Safety 5,039 4,736 (303) (6.0)
Department of Correctional Services 3,008 2,772 (236) (7.9)
Division of State Police 768 719 (49) (6.4)
Division of Criminal Justice Services (adjusted for comparability in 2009-10) 471 468 (3) 0.0
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services 316 329 13 4.0

V. Major Initiatives

Gap Closing Actions

Proposal 2010-11
($ in millions)
($ in millions)
Close Four Prisons and Consolidate Dormitories 7 52
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services 17 17
Merge Criminal Justice Agencies 2 2
Delay State Police Training Classes/Redeploy SROs 0 0
Expand DNA Program (1) (2)
Reduce Local Criminal Justice and Probation Programs Across-the-Board by Ten Percent 12 12
Maximize Alternative Funding Sources 15 16
Additional Agency Reductions 84 82
Total 136 179

Other Budget Actions


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