THE DVSJA

ABOUT THE DVSJA

THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS JUSTICE ACT

WHAT IS THE DVSJA?

A bill pending in the New York State legislature that would allow judges to sentence survivors to shorter prison terms and, in some cases, community-based alternative-to-incarceration programs instead of prison, and provide survivors currently in prison the opportunity to apply for resentencing, granting much-deserved relief for incarcerated survivors who pose no threat to public safety.

The bill contains protections to ensure appropriate use of this discretion. Eligibility is limited to those who were survivors who living with abuse at the time of the offense, and resentencing is limited to those confined to DOCCS who are serving sentences of eight years or more.

WHY DO WE NEED THE DVSJA?

WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF THE DVSJA TO THE PUBLIC GOOD?

Increased use of alternatives programs and shorter prison sentences means less tax payer money spent on incarceration.  It costs New York State $55,000 per year to incarcerate a person and $11,000 to send a person to an alternative to incarceration program in New York City.  There is one such community–based program in New York for survivor-defendants, STEPS To End Family Violence.

Alternate sentencing, including community-based alternatives, is particularly appropriate for women survivors of interpersonal violence. Women survivor-defendants often have no prior criminal records and no history of violence. For women who are parents, allowing them to live in the community while serving sentences enables them to maintain ties to children and family and lessens the trauma of that separation on both sides. ATI programs lower recidivism rates, cost less than incarceration, and are more effective than prison in helping individuals heal from abuse, reconnect with children, and become productive community members.

HOW YOU CAN HELP SUPPORT THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS JUSTICE ACT

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