The Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (S5116) is a New York State billed introduced in 2015. First, it would allow judges to go outside the regulated sentencing scheme and assess whether domestic abuse was a "significant contributing factor" to the alleged crime. This would allow judges to implement shorter sentences and, in some cases, alternative-to-incarceration (ATI) programs. Second, it would allow judges the opportunity to re-sentence those who are currently incarcerated for offenses in which certain domestic violence criteria was a significant element of the offense.
If the DVSJA bill passes, it’s proven that New York will reap significant savings every year. In New York, it costs up to $96,000 per year to send one adult to jail, but sentencing to an ATI program would cost $18,000, according to a report from NYC ATI/Reentry Coalition Services. Additionally, the two-year recidivism rate of ATI graduates is less than 20 percent, far lower than the 42 percent recidivism rate of those released from incarceration.
Right now, the bill is stuck in committee. Attempts have been made to water down and manipulate it because it's seen as "weak on crime" or a "get-out-of-jail-free card." Call or write your local state senator to find out more information about the bill. Also, visit the bill's page to find all the sponsors of the DVSJA and monitor its progress.