When it comes to the state’s ability to address natural disasters, New York ranks dead last. This deserved reputation is the result of the major losses that have followed previous calamities, including the tolls taken on people’s’ well being, economic livelihood, and personal safety. One source of trouble is the convoluted, expensive investigations the state implements to assess the damage left behind. Even after the state issues the necessary funds to begin the cleanup and recovery process, they are often mismanaged and subsequently funneled away from victims
In order to provide and maintain the important balance of economy and environment that will carry us into the future, we must take the following actions:
1) Adopt modern solutions to disaster cleanups including bio-remediation and a reduction in our dependence on lengthy and antiquated federal Superfund hearings. This will improve environmental outcomes and save money.
2) Remove restrictions on the hemp industry and encourage the production of hemp-based bio-plastics which will help fill a long-term environmental and economic need.
3) Demand that companies are held accountable for environmental crimes by introducing an Environmental Victims Unit (EVU). This is a team composed of scientists and engineers who would direct the investigation and prosecution of environmental crimes.
4) Ensure that the Attorney General (AG) has experts in the environmental justice field to help with prosecuting crimes of that nature.
5) Explore safer generation IV nuclear reactors to bring New York State closer to energy self-reliance. Although this technology may not be available for 10+ years, it will allow the recapture of spent fuel rods, virtually eliminate the possibility of a reactor meltdown, and eradicate the need for drawing material from the environment with zero carbon emissions. Utilization of these types of reactors will help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels in favor of cleaner, more sustainable, and more affordable energy sources.
6) Push legislation that requires the penalty payments received to be allocated to the victims directly impacted by that instance of pollution / environmental degradation and cleanup.
7) Make it easier to deploy and use renewable energy, including further investigation of innovative technologies available for renewable resource use.
8) Remove New York state’s liability caps for people and companies proven responsible for environmental disasters.
MONEY SAVED TRANSLATES TO GROWTH
Matthew believes in creating CRUs (Community Reform Units) to help reduce recidivism, rehabilitate inmates, and give them a second chance at life. These CRUs will be operated by a combination of correctional officers and volunteers, including former inmates who are productive members of society. These CRUs are modeled after a Massachusetts initiative referred to as the HUMV program, which reduced recidivism rates from around 75% to around 5%. Input from corrections officers, former inmates, and current inmates will be essential making this objective clearly a team effort. Inmates will be screened to ensure that those with psychopathic tendencies, who present the lowest chances for successful completion, are not brought into the program. Upon completion, qualified inmates will be granted an early release. Over time, CRUs will generate savings for taxpayers as recidivism rates plummet and less people need to be imprisoned. The savings will be used to pay for both de-escalation training for guards and the hiring of new guards.
Correctional officers are overworked and understaffed which amplifies the incredibly stressful environment they work within. This is not conducive to proper treatment of those in state custody and It is very detrimental to the well-being of the corrections officers who have to experience these conditions. We will ensure that correctional officers get their contracts in a timely manner and will work hard to improve their overall working conditions. Some of this improvement will stem from decreased inmate populations which will result from legalization of marijuana/hemp and pardoning marijuana and SAFE Act offenders.
Incidences of wrong doing on the part of corrections officers and prisoners alike present a special problem in providing evidence for the prosecution of crimes committed behind prison walls. Greater consideration must be given to the placement and addition of cameras in prisons so that witness testimony is not so paramount to investigations.This necessarily reduces the impact of false accusations brought forth by inmates and offers a higher degree of protection for corrections officers. Inmates will also be protected from false allegations that correctional officers might make against them. Officers will be able to rely more upon surveillance to aid in the resolution of disputes between prisoners instead of eyewitness statements in which minor mistakes may lead to possibly losing their jobs. Ultimately, such measures will save the state a lot on the wasted funding commonly sunk into defending prison lawsuits.