Susan Herman, lawyer and professor of criminal justice, is one of two academics chosen to help reform “convoluted” policies
Note: Herman is a resident of Fulton Landing in Brooklyn. She can be reached for interviews at Sherman2@pace.edu or her cell phone, number available on request. See contact below.
NEW YORK, NY, October 15, 2010 — Crime sentencing policies in New York State have not been comprehensively revised in more than four decades. They have been described as “convoluted,” and as deficient both in helping offenders reform and helping victims find restitution.
Now a Pace University professor of criminal justice, Susan Herman, an advocate of “parallel” justice for crime victims, has been named to the state’s first-ever Permanent Sentencing Commission, which is charged with a thoroughgoing reform.
Herman is a lawyer and the former executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime in Washington, DC. A graduate of the Antioch School of Law and a former Special Counsel to the Commissioner of the New York Police Department, she is the author of a book published this summer titled “Parallel Justice for Victims of Crime” (National Center for Victims of Crime).
More than pie in the sky
A review of the book on the website Restorative Justice Online describes the work as “focused and balanced.”
The reviewer, Eric Asur, says the volume addresses “the billions of dollars of restitution that is not collected” and how the current victim compensation funds are “of limited utility, and may only assist victims of violent crimes with specific hardships.” Current compensation funds often are simply “inapplicable” to victims of “financial or identity fraud type crimes.”
The task of developing a new system “seems daunting,” Asur concludes, but he adds that “fortunately, the author presents more than a ‘pie in the sky’ dream,” recounting numerous pilot programs and legislative changes in other states.
New York could well become a leader in this field. Among the Commission’s jobs is increasing New York State’s “focus on crime victims, including efforts to broaden victim participation in sentencing and to facilitate victim restitution,” according to a press release from the state’s Unified Court system.
Two notable figures in the state’s legal community co-chair the new Commission — New York County’s new District Attorney, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and the Administrative Judge of the State Supreme Court’s Criminal Term in Kings County, Barry Kamins, a former criminal defense lawyer. The other member with an academic appointment is Shawn Bushway, PhD, of the State University at Albany.
New York State’s Chief Judge, Jonathan Lippman, announced the makeup of the Commission this week.
The establishment of a permanent commission was recommended by the most recent short-term commission on sentencing reform, chaired by former DCJS Commissioner Denise O’Donnell. The state’s current system was called “convoluted” by a Vice-Chair of the new commission, Patricia Marks, a Supervising Judge for the Criminal Courts of the Seventh Judicial District. The new commission is similar to commissions in many other states.
Herman has taught at Pace for five years in the University’s popular Criminal Justice program, which recently began offering an Executive Masters degree (MA) in Homeland Security. The Criminal Justice Department is part of the University’s Dyson College of Arts and Sciences.
About Pace University
For 103 years, Pace University has produced thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu
Contact: Christopher T. Cory, Pace media relations, 212-346-1117, cell 917-608-8164, firstname.lastname@example.org