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NYS Division of the Budget: Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor; Robert L. Megna, Budget Director Division of the Budget Home Page

NYS Division of Budget

Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor
Robert L. Megna, Budget Director

2010-2011 Executive Budget – Briefing Book


Public Safety

  • Department of Correctional Services
  • Division of Parole
  • Division of State Police
  • Division of Criminal Justice Services
  • State Commission of Correction
  • Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
  • Division of Military and Naval Affairs
  • Division of Veterans Affairs
  • Alcoholic Beverage Control

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:

  • Improve cooperation with local and Federal partners;
  • Better share information and break down programmatic silos;
  • Develop regional interoperable communication networks that will form the basis of a statewide interoperable network for all first responders;
  • Restructure the 911 Board;
  • Create a state-of-the-art training facility for first responders;
  • Foster the efficiency of public safety functions at the local level;
  • Standardize grant operations to make the competition for funding more streamlined and transparent; and
  • Lower costs through combined administrative functions and shared service centers.

IV. Summary of Spending (All Funds)

Category 2009-10
($ in millions)
2010-11
($ in millions)
Change
Dollar
(in millions)
Percent
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)
2011-12
($ 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
  • Close Four Prisons and Consolidate Dormitories. The prison population is projected to decline by 1,100 inmates in the current fiscal year and by another 1,000 inmates in the 2010-11 fiscal year – reaching a total of 57,600 inmates. As a result, the Department of Correctional Services would continue to consolidate facilities and eliminate excess capacity. Two prisons would close in January 2011: Lyon Mountain minimum security (Clinton County) and Butler minimum security (Wayne County). Another two prisons would close in April 2011: the Moriah shock facility (Essex County) and Ogdensburg medium security (St. Lawrence County). The planned closures would be undertaken in compliance with the current statutory provisions requiring one-year notification. The consolidation of various dormitories would also be factored into the overall plan, providing flexibility to adjust to unexpected changes in the size and movement of the inmate population. Once the closures are completed, the workforce will have been reduced by 637 staff, including 17 managerial staff. (2010-11 Savings: $7 million; 2011- 12 Savings: $52 million)
  • Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. The Office of Homeland Security, the State Emergency Management Office, the State 911 Board, the Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Coordination, and the Office of Fire Prevention and Control will merge into a single State agency to provide greater support to local first responders and improve coordination of a wide array of State and Federal grant programs. The essential missions of these organizations would not only continue, but would be enhanced within the new organization, while also achieving savings of $1.5 million. In addition, the new organization would be responsible for advancing the vision for a county-driven statewide interoperable communication system to be used by all first responders, including State public safety staff. The agency would offer grants totaling up to $50 million next year to assist counties in developing communications networks and consolidating dispatch centers. The grants would be funded from cellular surcharge revenues that were formerly intended to finance the Statewide Wireless Network Project – the same source that would provide support for a portion of the operations of the new agency. In addition, the State would invest $42 million in bonded capital over five years to expand the State Preparedness Training Center at Oriskany into a statewide training center for first responders. (2010-11 Savings: $17 million; 2011-12 Savings: $17 million)
  • Merge Criminal Justice Agencies. The operations of the Crime Victims Board, Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, and Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives would merge with the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). The important missions of these agencies would be preserved and enhanced as specialized offices within DCJS. DCJS already provides administrative support to these smaller agencies, and a full merger offers a more efficient and cost-effective environment for the delivery of programs and services for which these agencies are responsible. The merger would also foster improved coordination of policies and programs, and consolidate grant operations. (2010-11 Savings: $2 million; 2011-12 Savings: $2 million)
  • Delay State Police Training Classes/Redeploy School Resource Officers. The Division of State Police has not held a training class during the current year, and will not hold any during the 2010-11 fiscal year in light of the State’s fiscal crisis. As a result of the decision not to recruit new members to replace those who leave, the State Police force would be approximately 269 positions lower by April 2011 compared to April 2009, requiring the Superintendent to redeploy members to the highest priority assignments with the greatest impact on public safety. The redeployment plan developed by the Superintendent examined resource allocations in all troops and details to ensure that the core missions of the agency are met. This plan includes the reassignment of 90 school resources officers (at the close of the school year in June 2010), as well as other members in each of the troops and details, from duties beyond the traditional role of the State Police. The delay of the training classes avoids $17 million in cost during the 2010-11 fiscal year.
  • Expand DNA Program. Legislation is advanced to require all persons convicted of a Penal Law offense to submit a DNA sample at the time of conviction. This will greatly expand the use of DNA as a crime fighting tool, as well as help to exonerate those who are wrongfully convicted. Current law requires DNA samples from only 46 percent of offenders convicted of a Penal Law offense. This initiative is expected to modestly expand the workload of the State Police laboratory in Albany. (2010-11 Cost: $400,000; 2011- 12 Cost: $1.7 million)
  • Reduce Local Criminal Justice and Probation Programs Across-the-Board by Ten Percent. Grants to communities for crime fighting, prevention activities, alternatives to incarceration, and legal services are reduced by ten percent for a savings of $7.2 million. Support for local probation departments is also reduced by ten percent for a savings of $5.2 million, with the impact on counties partially mitigated by the positive impact of anticipated regulatory changes. After these reductions, a total of $124 million in support would still be available for local criminal justice programs. (2010-11 Savings: $12 million; 2011-12 Savings: $12 million)
  • Maximize Alternative Funding Sources. The Department of Correctional Services and the Department of Health would implement a new program to capture Federal Medicaid reimbursement for the cost of treating inmates in hospital settings outside the prison. In addition, excess revenues in the Criminal Justice Improvement Account would be transferred to the General Fund to offset the cost of criminal justice programs. (2010- 11 Savings: $15 million; 2011-12 Savings: $16 million)
  • Additional Agency Reductions. The Executive Budget recommends an additional $75 million reduction to the operations of public safety agencies. Agencies would manage these reductions through a broad range of savings initiatives, including strict limits on staffing; energy consumption and purchases; vehicles, supplies, equipment, contracts for technology and other services; the development of shared services, especially within the newly consolidated agencies; and other actions. (2010-11 Savings: $84 million; 2011- 12 Savings: $82 million)

Other Budget Actions

  • Public Safety Mandate Reform. Several regulatory and statutory changes would be advanced to reform mandates placed on local jails and other local public safety agencies. These initiatives include fostering expanded use of video-conferencing; expanding the use of a New York City practice to expedite the hearing process for technical parole violators; removing mandates that local jails maintain gender-segregated infirmaries; providing flexibility in incarcerating younger inmates; and encouraging the consolidation of town and village courts.
  • Investment in Indigent Defense. A new office would provide oversight of the indigent defense system, housed within the consolidated Division of Criminal Justice Services and overseen by a board of key stakeholders, including the Executive Branch, the Judiciary, and county government representatives. Current aid formulas and county maintenance of effort requirements would be replaced with a new grant program to be designed by the new office and board, driven by performance standards and supplemented with $7 million in new funding. Including the $3 million cost of the office, a total new investment of $10 million would support improvements to indigent legal services.
  • Subsidy for Civil Legal Services. The Judiciary budget request includes a new $15 million subsidy to replace lost interest income of the Interest on Lawyers Account (IOLA) – the primary source of State funding for civil legal services. The subsidy would be sufficient to allow grants to be maintained at last year’s level, and is proposed to be financed by a court fee increase.
  • Expansion of Crimes Against Revenue Program (CARP). An additional $10 million in resources would be provided to county district attorneys to prosecute tax and other revenue fraud identified by the Department of Taxation and Finance. This effort is anticipated to yield additional tax recoveries, with a net benefit of one to two times the value of the investment.
  • Improve Processing of Alcoholic Beverage Licenses. The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control would engage in a full-scale restructuring of its licensing program, including streamlined procedures, improved enforcement, and the introduction of an online licensing application. The agency is participating with four partners in a statewide “e-licensing” initiative, designed to assist businesses seeking State permits and licenses. Interim measures are expected to lead to immediate progress in lowering the backlog of licenses, with the electronic licensing application project taking at least two years to complete.
  • Transfer of Criminal Justice Related Programs from the Department of Health. The consolidated Division of Criminal Justice Services would assume responsibility for the existing rape crisis program of the Department of Health (DOH). In addition, DCJS would administer funding for medical examiners previously budgeted in DOH, as part of their support for forensic laboratories, beginning January 1, 2011.
  • Reduction in Parole Board Members. Determinate sentencing of violent and drug offenders has significantly reduced the workload of the Parole Board. It is recommended that the current 19-member Parole Board be reduced by six members.
  • Increase Court Filing Fees. Fees to file a new case or a motion in court would be increased to provide support for indigent defense, civil legal services and cost increases in the Judiciary budget. Generating $41 million in 2010-11, the increases are structured to discourage frivolous cases and motions causing significant court delays and backlogs, and to preserve access to justice for persons of lesser means. (2010-11 Net Revenue: $31 million; 2011-12 Net Revenue: $44 million; net of $10 million annually to support indigent legal services)
  • Implement Speed Enforcement Cameras. Authorization is sought to deploy automated cameras to identify vehicles speeding in designated highway work zones and dangerous stretches of highway. Notices of violation in the amount of $50 for highway speeding and $100 for speeding in work zones would be issued to the registered owners of vehicles captured by the cameras. Cameras would be deployed in 40 work zones and in ten additional locations. (2010-11 Net Revenue: $25 million; 2011-12 Net Revenue: $71 million)

 

    Briefing Book Table of Contents    |    Entire Briefing Book (PDF)

 

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