Helps Ease Capacity Constraints in Court Houses, Allow Corrections Staff to be Reallocated to Housing Supervision and Safety, and Expedite Hearings to Reduce Number of Detainees on Rikers
Governor's Office Commits Additional Resources to Increase Video Capacity as Necessary and Works with Office of Court Administration to Ensure Swift Review of Cases
Order Comes 10 Days After Governor Hochul Signed Less is More Act and Announced Actions to Improve Justice and Safety in City Jails—125 Individuals Transferred from Rikers to State Facilities and 185 Individuals Released from Rikers to Date
Read Executive Order Here
Amid the continued crisis at Rikers Island, Governor Kathy Hochul today signed an executive order to expand remote court hearings. The order temporarily modifies Article 182 of the Criminal Procedure Law to expand discretion to conduct court appearances virtually. The expanded use of virtual court appearances will expedite proceedings and allow corrections staff to be reallocated from transportation of detainees to housing supervision and safety at Rikers Island.
"When I signed the Less is More Act into law 10 days ago, it was the beginning, not the end, of my Administration's work to help find solutions to the crisis on Rikers Island," Governor Hochul said. "Improving safety and justice at Rikers is about protecting human rights and human dignity. No incarcerated person, no corrections officer, and no family member should have to endure the reality of Rikers as it exists today, and we must do everything in our power to prevent New Yorkers from languishing in Rikers awaiting their day in court. While more work needs to be done collaboratively with all levels of government, this executive order is an important step to alleviate capacity concerns and help protect New Yorkers."
The Governor's Office is working with the Office of Court Administration to explore other methods to expedite hearings, and as part of this work OCA has committed to ensuring the swift review of cases for pre-trial release, clearing warrants and holds, writs, and hearing resentencing motions for individuals detained. The Governor's Office has also committed to providing additional resources to increase video capacity as necessary.
On September 17, Governor Hochul announced major actions to improve justice and safety in city jails, including signing the Less is More Act and announcing an agreement with the Department of Corrections and the City to allow for incarcerated individuals to be transferred from Rikers Island to State custody. To date, 125 individuals have been transferred from Rikers to a State facility under the agreement, and 185 individuals have been released from Rikers in the spirit of Less is More.