March 24, 2022 By Allie Griffin
State Sen. Jessica Ramos is calling on the city council to invest in mental health services for alleged lawbreakers rather than pumping money into the prison system.
Ramos joined a rally on the steps of City Hall Wednesday morning to demand the council add funding to mental health services and decrease funding for the Department of Corrections in the upcoming city budget.
The rally-goers were responding to a preliminary budget Mayor Eric Adams released last month, in which he proposed increasing the DOC budget by roughly $53 million, to $1.23 billion, while cutting funding to the health department by over $194 million, to $2.07 billion. The mayor’s budget also calls for slashing funding to the city’s public hospital system by nearly $390 million, to $717 million.
Following the rally, Ramos testified at the council’s preliminary budget hearing the same morning to advocate for her position.
“We are all concerned with public safety, let’s take the responsibility of addressing those fears seriously by spending taxpayer dollars on programs that meaningfully intervene into the post-pandemic mental health crisis,” Ramos said in her testimony.
The lawmaker, whose district will soon include Rikers Island due to recent redistricting, also demanded its closure.
“As the senator who will soon represent Rikers, I’ll be clear: it must close,” she said on Twitter.
Ramos said the city must consider alternative options – similar to existing drug diversion programs — instead of jailing pre-trial defendants on Rikers Island in “inhumane conditions”.
She suggested the use of mental health diversion programs as one alternative and has introduced a bill in the state legislature called “The Treatment Not Jail Act” to expand the use of such programs. The bill expands the number and type of charges eligible for treatment within mental health diversion programs as a part of sentencing.
To support the bill’s goal, the city needs to allocate funding for more treatment facilities in its budget.
“To implement diversion programs we need our city to invest in more mental health beds and
more treatment facilities,” Ramos said.
Her testimony echoed the message of the Freedom Agenda, the group that organized the rally outside City Hall. According to the group, the city spends more than $556,000 a year per inmate on jail operations.
“We call on our allies and elected offices for a just budget,” Freedom Agenda leader Peggy Herrera said at the rally. “Invest into our communities instead of an inflated DOC budget.”
Ramos is not the only Queens official to call for change in the mayor’s preliminary budget.
Three Queens council members, Tiffany Cabán, Shekar Krishnan and Nantasha Williams, joined a group criticizing Mayor Eric Adams’ proposed cuts to services like education, housing and healthcare, while boosting funds for the prison system.
“Mayor Adams has proposed a budget that would defund many of our most vital public safety and public health agencies and institutions,” Cabán said at a Manhattan rally last week.
They are pushing for a city budget that redistributes funding from the DOC and NYPD to agencies that oversee public health, education, sanitation and parks — which are facing budget cuts in the mayor’s proposal.
Let talk about a real thing call Trump derangement syndrome. There are people bring Trump into every conversation. It is a form of obsessive compulsive disorder. I just saw an anchor on CNN try to blame Trump for will smith slapping Chris rock at the Oscar’s. wtf.
Talk to former Mrs Mayor… Remember???
It was mario cuomo and the dems that proceeded him who let the mentally ill out with no resources…please stop making up lies about Reagan
Trumper- Homelessness is a National crisis in every state, city and county. The year Regan implemented his new federal policy is when homeless appeared in great numbers and in every corner of the country. I saw it happen. The numbers have been high ever since. If your article links were true this would only be happening here and it’s not.
correct….it is happening on a massive scale in democrat machine run inner cities…thank you for proving my point…
Homeless are in Republican rural areas, under highway over passes and wooded areas. Poverty is one of the contributors to homelessness and Republican policies like Right to work legislation push even more people into poverty. All of the poorest states like Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, etc. are all Republican strongholds, RTW, highest uninsured, poorest education and highest crime. Fact!!! Google it, it’s easily verified. Many rural Republican areas put homeless on buses to big cities because they claim they lack resources to address homeless. Lack of a comprehensive National healthcare system with psychiatric coverage is another contributor to homelessness and Republicans are notorious at blocking any healthcare legislation to remedy the situation. There are homeless all over America, you need to travel a bit.,
Republican Drum beater – You obviously missed the word “every”.
what happened to thrive NYC? they took the money and just shut down? maybe this should be investigated?
then again, this is what our politicians want.. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9980519/Homeless-shelter-run-Andrew-Cuomos-sister-left-man-trapped-broken-elevator-FOUR-DAYS.html
people need to think before voting, im sure Cuomo is not the only one. JVBs sister works for breaking ground. nothing against her, but how is it that people politically connected end up with these jobs?
Let’s invest in both. Let’s stop giving the money to illegal aliens so people like Jessica Ramos can keep getting re-elected when they become citizens.
maybe she she ask her own senator buddies why they closed those institutions down in the first place? again, zero accountability, without a care for their constituents safety.
We all know that does not work. We need punishment. People are literally dying every day. No more sympathy for murderers and thieves!
Where did the Thrive money go? The “mental illness” card is getting played out already.
everyone knows it’s in Deblasio’s offshore bank accounts.
Trump bragged that all his offshore accounts meant he paid no taxes, and that “makes him smart.” You’re criticizing him for that?!
Where in his comment did he mention Trump?
There’s already enough people looking to play the “Mental Illness” card.
@Jimmy- There are still plenty of us who remember the days before President Regan “un-institutionalized” mental illness, when you didn’t have to share the subways with dozens of delusional people reeking of urine and other body orders.
OMG, lol, It’s 2022 and it’s Reagan’s fault, I guess there’s been no other party in charge anywhere since 1988? Especially here in NYC.
Doughboy- The homeless problem has been around ever since Regans famous speech and defunding. That legislation is credited with exponentially increasing the number of people in the streets. It was even predicted. Those of who witnessed it can testify to it.
Why do they say the Trumpers are out of touch? 😂
And FDR was elected 90 years ago and his legislative successes still impact us today like Social Security and the SEC. Why do you find it so hard that legislation passed about 40 years ago would still impact us today?
Try to keep a train of thought: the comment you’re replying to was thanking Reagan for keeping the subways clean 😂 Now you’re rambling about the New Deal on an article about mental health services in Queens? You should seek mental health services in Queens.
The point is that the Democrats have had power multiple times since Reagan left over 40 years ago, that they had multiple chances to undo the situation if they truly wanted to,but they didn’t. They profited off of it. Look at what happened with Thrive and look at how the Democratic cronies who owned the hotel/motel rented out to the homes we’re charging 250% the normal rate.Democrats are just better at virtue signaling.
@Sorry- What stream are you posting to? St least fan of Doughboy knows how to read. You really are bad at this as somebody else has recently told you.