2017-04-21 / Community

Parks To Reduce Penalties For Low-Level Offenses


NYC Parks has released proposed changes to Parks rules and the penalties incurred by offenders. NYC Parks has released proposed changes to Parks rules and the penalties incurred by offenders. In accordance with the Criminal Justice Reform Act signed last June by Mayor de Blasio, NYC Parks has released proposed changes to Parks rules and the penalties incurred by offenders.

Under the amended rules, many offenses that were previously classified as misdemeanors are now being lowered in categorization to violations, reducing the overall number of offenses that will result in a permanent criminal record. Newly downgraded violations include entering a park after closing hours, failure to comply with park signs, and failure to comply with bicycle restrictions. The amended rules reflect New York City Council’s effort to reduce arrests and incarceration.

“Our Parks should be fair and just spaces,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver. “These updated rules will keep our parks safe, while also ensuring that New Yorker’s futures are not detrimentally affected by minor lapses in judgment. We welcome the public to share their feedback during the comment period.”

In order to incorporate the community’s feedback, Parks is accepting public comments at rules@parks.nyc.gov, as well as through the NYC Rules website at rules.cityofnewyork.us/. Parks will hold a public hearing on the proposed rules on Monday, May 22 at 10 a.m. at the Chelsea Recreation Center, 430 West 25th St. Those wishing to comment at the hearing may register to speak in advance by calling Darci Frinquelli at 212-360-1383.

Some extreme offenses—such as harming animals; polluting park waters; and unlawful exposure—will continue to be classified as misdemeanors. To view the proposed changes in full visit the Parks rules web page at nycgovparks.org/rules.

In NYC in 2015, 10,393 criminal summonses were issued for being in a park after hours, and 7,069 summonses were issued for disobeying park signs. When implemented across city agencies, the Criminal Justice Reform Act will divert more than 100,000 cases from the criminal justice system every year, saving almost 10,000 people from a permanent criminal record, and preventing approximately 50,000 or more arrest warrants from being issued for low-level, non-violent offenses.

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