Wednesday, January 20, 2010


This Wednesday afternoon, I had the opportunity to attend the monthly meeting of the Criminal Justice Council held in the County building. The group, like many of the committees and commissions across the county are getting their leadership and missions in order after another change in the Legislature.

I attended for the purpose of witnessing the functions of yet another think tank. This one is no joke. By the end of the two hour session, I was convinced that I would like to be a regular member.

Membership i
ncludes personnel from Probation, Law enforcement, and DSS as well as UCCC, DA's Office, city & county court and the Public Defender's office. The members of the Legislature who joined me, Carl Belfiglo and Jack Hayes, are just as enthused to see what they can do to affect change in Ulster County and the trend in recidivism and cost of Law Enforcement.

Preliminary discussions to get us up-to-speed included a run down on how the courts handle cases, judges discretionary dictates in people moving, the unfunded mandates in DNA and information collection as well as the re-entry programs and the diminished funds in which to operate them.

When reviewing stats on the cost of incarcerated and space, I asked if they could elaborate on what percent of the inmates were illegal immigrants that could be handed over to the Federal facility in Orange County. They said, all instances of illegals that get this far are automatically transferred to INS, however, local law enforcement would have to want to pursue federal law enforcement as the minor infractions occur in their townships. They are primarily slack in this area, so there is limited incarceration costs for the county.

It was noted that the change in the Roc Drug Laws has pushed the case load for probation to a new level since the sentences are less related to jail time.

We also heard about the drastic up-tic in costs to cover the court assigned counsel, since the trend is to have single representation for each defender, as if these lawyers couldn't handle more than one case at a time. What gives?

I hope to secure a space on this Council to aid in the continued transition that most members feel is slow moving. There are decades of non-attention to these matters that only a few years ago warranted the formation of this think tank. I think it's marvellous. Lets make something happen.


Anonymous said...

Thinking over emotionally driven revenge is always nice. How many of these probation cases are for drug use? I can see penalizing sales, but simple use is a huge waste of taxpayer money. Few thinking people see the point of using the penal system for healthcare issues. We once used the penal system for sexual deviances too.

Anonymous said...

i love it that you are involved on this committee Mike!!!! i hope you are an "official" member of the committee.


Next up for you! County Exec!

i will TTYL

Adam Bosch said...

Mike and others:
Here's a story I did recently on the changes to the Rockefeller drug laws and some help that came to Ulster and Orange counties.