Topics Criminal Justice
Stay Focused
Sign up for our free newsletter, and we'll make sure you never miss a beat.
The outline of New York state, inside a badge, with a cracked effect on top and a blue and red gradient background.
Behind the Badge: In New York City Homeless Shelters, the Same ‘Peace Officers’ Abuse Residents

Previously unreleased disciplinary files expose officers who beat, slap, and pepper spray the residents they’re supposed to protect. Most are back at work within a month.

Sammy Sussman, Annika Grosser and Sanjana Bhambhani   ·   April 15, 2024
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrats of New York, smile in front of american flags
As State Police Expand Surveillance, Privacy Advocates Turn to US Congress

Local regulations haven’t kept up with the rollout of new surveillance tech. Some reformers see Washington as their best hope.

Chris Gelardi   ·   April 2, 2024
In These State Prisons, Addiction Treatment Is Out of Reach

Stark disparities in access to life-saving medication for opioid addiction persist between facilities — and racial groups.

Spencer Norris   ·   March 22, 2024
New York City Police Department members stand in a line wearing NYPD baseball caps.
New Bill Would Stop Cops From Citing Debunked ‘Excited Delirium’ Syndrome

Referencing a New York Focus story, Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas introduced legislation to prevent public agencies from naming the medically discredited condition in their reports.

Chris Gelardi   ·   March 19, 2024
A magnifying glass reveals a jail cell otherwise obscured by static.
Be a Jail Watchdog

New York Focus has published thousands of pages of county jail oversight records. Browse them in our database.

Chris Gelardi and Eliza Fawcett   ·   February 23, 2024
Governor Kathy Hochul, wearing a red turtleneck and blazer, sits at a table with other officials.
Hochul’s Plan to Close Prisons Faces a Fight

New York’s incarcerated population has been declining for decades. Why is it so hard for prison closures to keep pace?

Eliza Fawcett   ·   February 20, 2024
A group of people before the judges of the Court of Appeals
It’s Hard to Get a Criminal Case Heard in New York’s Top Court. The New Chief Judge May Change That.

Some Court of Appeals judges are far more likely to grant requests to hear appeals than others, a New York Focus analysis found.

Sam Mellins   ·   January 25, 2024
A collage of book covers, including Richard Wright's Native Son
What You Can’t Read Behind Bars in New York

As book banning sparks outrage in schools and libraries, the censorship of classics like Native Son persists in New York prisons.

Rebecca McCray   ·   January 24, 2024
Governor Kathy Hochul stands with a hand on her hip next to a New York state trooper on a cloudy day.
Kathy Hochul’s Copy-and-Paste Crime-Fighting Formula

This year, the governor’s budget contains an agenda to combat retail theft. It looks a lot like last year’s plan to curb gun violence.

Chris Gelardi   ·   January 16, 2024
Here’s Every Bill That Kathy Hochul Vetoed in 2023

One hundred and fifteen laws that almost were.

New York Focus   ·   January 3, 2024
The back of an open prison transport van
He Was Sick, So They Sent Him to Prison

New York jails can transfer people with mental illnesses to maximum security prisons, even while they’re legally innocent.

Chris Gelardi   ·   December 21, 2023
Attica Correctional facility exterior in grayscale, with bright TV static behind.
This Agency Is Supposed to Monitor Jails. Is Anyone Monitoring It?

The State Commission of Correction has been stumbling for decades — with millions of incarcerated people caught in the lurch.

Eliza Fawcett   ·   December 18, 2023
A jail cell with keys in the lock seen through a dirty window.
Demystifying the New York Parole Board’s Murky Decisions

In New York, many incarcerated people don’t know how to secure their freedom. A court fight could clear up the lethally opaque process.

Nathan Porceng   ·   December 18, 2023
Correctional officers are being blocked from a door of a prison on the left side of an illustration. They walk around the corner, removing their uniforms, only to be welcomed back to a door on the right side of the prison. Their uniforms are returned to them in the process.
‘A Crazy System’: How Arbitration Puts Abusive Guards Back in New York Prisons

Over a 12-year span, three out of every four state correctional officers fired for abuse or covering it up got their jobs back.

Alysia Santo and Joseph Neff   ·   December 14, 2023
The Rochester Police Accountability Board’s Long Fight to Unionize

Can an oversight group be in the same union as the police it monitors?

Maggie Duffy   ·   December 13, 2023
New NYPD officers smile amid blue and white confetti at police academy graduation ceremony.
NYPD Instructs Officers to Tase, Pepper Spray People Experiencing Debunked Syndrome

Police training materials link the discredited “excited delirium syndrome” to synthetic marijuana use.

Chris Gelardi   ·   December 12, 2023
State Senator Julia Salazar speaks at a podium.
Sweeping Salazar, Souffrant Forrest Bill Targets Rogue Prisons and Jails

The legislation cites multiple New York Focus investigations in its attempt to safeguard the rights of incarcerated people.

Chris Gelardi   ·   December 7, 2023
‘A Waste of Time’: Inside New York’s Broken Jail Accountability System

The state council that reviews grievances spent an average of eight seconds on each case in its last meeting — and rejected nearly all of them.

Eliza Fawcett and Chris Gelardi   ·   December 4, 2023
Court of Appeals judges stand and clap for Caitlin Halligan
New Pro-Defendant Decisions Signal Sea Change at New York’s Top Court

The rulings shed light on the leanings of Caitlin Halligan, the court’s newest judge and frequent tie-breaker.

Sam Mellins   ·   November 30, 2023
Chief Judge Rowan Wilson sits on the Court of Appeals bench.
New York’s Top Court Just Narrowed the Case That Spelled Doom for Bloomberg’s Soda Ban

While the United States Supreme Court seeks to restrict the government’s ability to regulate, the New York Court of Appeals is broadening it.

Sam Mellins   ·   November 28, 2023
1 2 3 4 5