New Poll from New Yorkers United for Justice and HarrisX finds sweeping support for Criminal Justice Reform across New York

Elimination of Cash Bail, Access to Speedy Trial,

Discovery Reform, Parole Reform, and

Expungement of Low-Level, Non-Violent Offenses

Popular Among Democrats, Republicans, And Independents

 

Support for These Reforms Cuts Across Cities, Rural NY,

and the Suburban Electoral Battleground

 

NYUJ Launched Major Initiatives on Further Reforms

Including Clemency This Month

 

(NEW YORK) – As New York leaders look to rebuild the state’s criminal justice system into a model of safety and fairness, New Yorkers United for Justice (NYUJ) and HarrisX today revealed the findings of a first-ever statewide poll showing New York voters strongly approve of criminal justice reform (see end of memo for full question wording). From the suburbs of Long Island to metro and rural communities across the state, a supermajority of New Yorkers expresses support for the right to a speedy trial (82 percent), discovery reform (77 percent), and eliminating cash bail (66 percent) - all reforms passed this year by the New York State Legislature. Additionally, the survey shows strong support for the expungement of low-level offenses (74 percent). This past July, the state enacted expungement for marijuana possession.  

 

Led by Khalil A. Cumberbatch and Topeka K. Sam, two formerly incarcerated New Yorkers, New Yorkers United for Justice is a statewide, bipartisan coalition of local and national groups advocating for necessary fixes to a flawed system. The group was a major driver behind pre-trial and sentencing reforms enacted earlier this year, launching a nearly $1 million public education effort in the New York City suburbs.

 

In the upcoming legislative session, New Yorkers United for Justice will prioritize comprehensive parole reform and automatic record sealing and expungement, among other ongoing criminal justice reforms. A full 68 percent of New Yorkers approve of key parole reforms, specifically allowing hearings before reincarceation for technical violations and shortening the length of supervision terms for demonstrated good behavior (both have 68 percent support).   In addition, an overwhelming 74 percent of New Yorkers support “clean slate” policies that allow for the sealing or expungent of criminal records for low-level, non-violent offenders after they have served their sentences and remained crime-free for a period of time. 

 

“Criminal justice reform is overwhelmingly popular across the state,” said New Yorkers United for Justice Chief Strategist Khalil A. Cumberbatch. “We hope legislators take note of this support, as shown by our poll, and continue to enact smart policies like parole reform and ‘clean slate’ to add to pretrial and sentencing reforms already passed. Advocates will continue to fight to protect our progress and push for further changes— knowing that a majority of voters are on our side. Also, we are encouraged that our internal polling strongly suggests over two-thirds of voters have comfort with steps around clemency when used in exceptional cases or after thorough vetting.”

 

NYUJ has launched a major push to encourage Governor Cuomo to enhance use of executive clemency powers.      

 

“Our coalition is built upon the reality that criminal justice reform is a statewide issue,” said New Yorkers United for Justice senior advisor Topeka K. Sam. “This poll confirms that voters of every political background, from the suburbs to the cities, support criminal justice reform and are more likely to support elected officials who do as well. We’ve taken historic steps to address the injustices in our system this year. We are here for the long haul and we must continue to pass reforms to make our state safer and more just next session.” 

 

Registered voters also voiced support for both past and future reforms regardless of party or geographic area.

 

Support for Criminal Justice Reforms: by Party Support

  • Right to a Speedy Trial: 84 percent of Democratic voters, 83 percent of Republican voters, and 77 percent of undecided voters
  • Discovery Reform: 81 percent of Democratic voters, 76 percent of Republican voters, and 68 percent of undecided voters
  • Ending Cash Bail: 75 percent of Democratic voters, 56 percent of Republican voters, and 57 percent of undecided voters
  • Expungement/Sealing Record for Low-Level Offenses: 83 percent of Democratic voters, 63 percent of Republican voters, and 63 percent of undecided voters
  • Hearing for Technical Parole Violations: 73 percent of Democratic voters, 62 percent of Republican voters, and 62 percent of undecided voters
  • Revised Parole/Probation Terms: 75 percent of Democratic voters, 57 percent of Republican voters, and 60 percent of undecided voters

 

Support for Criminal Justice Reforms: by Region

  • Right to a Speedy Trial: 82 percent of New York City, 79 percent of Long Island, 84 percent of Northern Suburbs, and 84 percent of Upstate New York.
  • Discovery Reform: 79 percent of New York City, 67 percent of Long Island, 79 percent of Northern Suburbs, and 78 percent of Upstate New York.
  • Ending Cash Bail: 68 percent of New York City, 69 percent Long Island, 70 percent of Northern Suburbs, and 63 percent of Upstate New York.
  • Expungement/Sealing Record for Low-Level Offenses: 76 percent of New York City, 70 percent of Long Island, 73 percent of Northern Suburbs, and 72 percent of Upstate New York.
  • Hearing for Technical Parole Violations: 74 percent of New York City, 68 percent of Long Island, 58 percent of Northern Suburbs, and 64 percent of Upstate New York.
  • Revised Parole/Probation Terms: 71 percent of New York City, 68 percent of Long Island, 71 percent of Northern Suburbs, and 63 percent of Upstate New York.

 

This survey reached 1,358 New York registered voters  and was conducted by HarrisX online and via phone (landline and cell) within the state of New York from August 23-28, 2019.  The sampling margin of error of this poll is plus or minus 2.66 percentage points. This includes an oversample of 601 voters from Long Island. The results reflect a representative sample of New York registered voters. Results were weighted for age, gender, region, race/ethnicity, education, and political party where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population. 

 

Click here to download the crosstabs for this study