October, 2021 marks six years since then-Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, and then-Legislative Director Nick E. Smith passed legislation to prohibit employers from asking about criminal records prior to a conditional offer of employment. In 2020, the team passed Fair Chance Act 2.0, which added violations, including Walking While Trans, and ACD's, to the list of prohibited questions.
The law has benefitted thousands of New Yrokers, many of them people of color. In a statement, the Public Advocate and First Deputy said the following:
Public Advocate Williams:
First Deputy PA Nick E. Smith: "As the nation moves away from the ridiculous `lock them up’ strategy that has disproportionally devastated black and brown communities, policies like the Fair Chance Act help reverse the harm done. Regardless of whether someone has made a mistake or not, denying employment based on a record only takes us backwards.”
In testimony to the City, First Deputy Public Advocate Nick E. Smith called for a true end to solitary confinement, rather than the proposed measures that would end the practice "in name only," at a hearing of the New York City Board of Correction on Wednesday night.
"Ending solitary confinement means more than re-arranging the deck chairs," he argued. "It means protecting the health and safety of those who are incarcerated, providing real opportunities for those who violate protocols to grow and improve, and abolishing punishment for punishment’s sake. Our Office looks forward to reviewing a revised version of these Rules that live up to these moral imperatives."
First Deputy Public Advocate Nick E. Smith called for reforms to the NYPD disciplinary process in testimony at a public hearing by the Civilian Complaint Review Board. The hearing was convened after the NYPD released a new disciplinary matrix to formalize response to officer misconduct.
He highlighted the recent movement for change and the city and nationwide protests, as well as the response by law enforcement. Citing instances of misconduct not explicitly enumerated, he argued that, "[w]e have seen several instances where the Police Commissioner has determined that NYPD officer's actions against protestors were not a violation of the NYPD guidelines. For example, using an NYPD car to run over protests may be immoral even if it did not violate the use of force guidelines."
Nick Interviewed in Role as First Deputy Public Advocate by Manhattan Deputy Borough President Matthew Washington.
First Deputy Public Advocate tours Lincoln Houses to call on funding and repairs
Nick joins call for passage of Good Cause Evictions.
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Nick accepts City and State Magazine's 40 Under 40 Award.
Nick joins Village Independent Democrats, NYers Against Gun Violence, Man Up, Inc. and others to discuss best practices to reducing gun violence.
Nick, an original author of NYC's #BantheBox law, joins sponsors Public Advocate Williams, Borough President Brewer and a panel of experts to commemorate and discuss how to expand. The PA passed #BantheBox 2.0 which expanded 1.0 to cover violations, including Loitering for the Purpose of Prostitution, and Adjournments in Contemplation of Dismissals.
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