Today Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I,Ref – Staten Island/Brooklyn) discussed the disturbing assault of a 63 year old woman that occurred in New Dorp this week, citing the fact that her attacked had approximately 20 prior arrests, 13 convictions and a history of mental illness and should not have been out on the street.
The combination of Governor Cuomo reducing the number of beds at state-run psychiatric facilities, as well as Mayor de Blasio’s push to close Rikers Island have left many on the street untreated, causing potential harm to themselves and danger to the public. The individuals who are often left untreated for substance abuse or mental illness find themselves in the revolving door of the criminal justice system, released to do harm again as is the case in Wednesday’s assault.
Assemblywoman Malliotakis listed the following changes that need to be implemented in order to amend the current flaws of our criminal justice system:
• Kendra’s law, which allows for court ordered out-patient treatment, should be made permanent.
• There should be a staff member trained to complete Kendra’s Law petitions present at hospitals and correctional facilities.
• 72 hour mandatory evaluation should be required by judges for anyone who has threatened harm to themselves or others.
• When there is a history of mental illness, judges should be required to notify family and counsel that Kendra’s law is an option.
• Justice centers should assist with completing Kendra’s law petitions.
• Government needs to stop downsizing state-run facilities.
• No one in custody who suffers from a mental illness, substance addiction and/or who are homeless should be released without services.
• The law should be changed so that judges are also required to consider an individual’s threat to public safety when setting bail.
The Assemblywoman was also critical of judges who release suspects on their own recognizance if they have a history of mental illness since they will be significantly less likely to return for their court dates.
This is not the first disturbing incident of an individual with a lengthy criminal record and mental illness or drug abuse who has harmed others. In November 2017 Geetha Howie was stabbed to death in West Brighton by a stranger with 15 prior criminal convictions. In January of this year Staten Island senior Jacinto Suarez of Stapleton was pushed to his death from the R train platform in Brooklyn by a man whose relatives say suffers from Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. She also highlighted the murder of FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo in March 2017 by an emotionally disturbed drug user with 31 prior arrests.
“With Governor Cuomo’s push to reduce the number of adult beds in state-run mental health facilities coupled with the mayor’s rush to empty and close Rikers island is leading individuals who are violent, have extensive criminal records, histories of mental illness and/or substance abuse to go back on our streets left untreated. This poses a great threat to public safety, as is evident by the cases I highlight today, which cover only a small sample of what is occurring across New York City. The recommendations I offer would prevent incidents like we saw here on New Dorp Lane from occurring and will save the lives of potential victims, as well as potential offenders. The current system is failing everyone and unless changes are made we will continue to see horrific incidents like this take place.