NEW YORK (WABC) -- The MTA has passed a resolution supporting the banning of criminal recidivists such as repeat sexual offenders and serial thieves from the New York City transit system.
The MTA has no power to actually ban repeat offenders -- that would have to be passed as law in Albany and enforced by law enforcement -- but Transit Committee chair Sarah Feinberg said it was meaningful for the board to put show it approves of the proposal to better protect riders.
The resolution includes:
1. That it is unacceptable that serial criminal recidivists are able to continually enter the public transit system to prey upon MTA workers and the riding public
2. That there can and should be some mechanism in place to ban certain perpetrators from the transit system for some amount of time in order to protect the public
3. That MTA facilities are different, and therefore should be treated differently, than the open streets and communities of the MTA region
4. That there is a shared responsibility among the legislature, law enforcement and the MTA to protect MTA workers and the riding public, and that responsibility is greater than our responsibility to provide access to public transportation to those who seek to rob, sexually or otherwise assault members of the public using the public transportation system
5. That law enforcement should have more tools at their disposal and more support from the criminal justice system to address the issue of serial recidivists
6. That the NY State legislature and the criminal justice system, in close coordination with the MTA, should take decisive action regarding the issue of serial criminal recidivists who seek to prey on workers and/or members of the riding public, such as by authorizing courts to ban them from the transit system for some amount of time
7. That until that action is taken, the MTA will work with the law enforcement and criminal justice community to recommend and seek the harshest penalties for serial criminals preying upon workers or the public in the transit system.
The MTA made a few changes from its original proposal, adding "physical acts or robberies" and replacing "seek harshest possible penalties" with "seek significant penalties."
One board member, David Jones, did raise concerns about possible overreach by law enforcement. He cautioned the MTA should define "recidivism," but he said he would not stand in the way of the resolution.
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