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Lawmakers Want To Decriminalize Turnstile Jumping

At a press conference held yesterday in Crown Heights, State Sen. Jesse Hamilton and Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright unveiled a bill they will introduce in Albany that will decriminalize turnstile-jumping, making arrests for the offense a thing of the past. Violators will instead be hit with a $100 fine.

From DNAinfo by Rachel Holiday Smith:

Two Brooklyn legislators are hoping to make turnstile-jumping arrests a thing of the past.

State Sen. Jesse Hamilton and Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright said Tuesday that they want to officially decriminalize the act by state law.

The pair plans to introduce legislation in Albany that would punish turnstile jumpers with an existing fine — $100 per offense, Wright said — instead of with a Class A misdemeanor, which can lead to up to a year in prison.

“We are decriminalizing it. We are not making it something that is without penalty. We are now saying they would be subject to the existing fines that are on the books,” Wright said, standing with Hamilton and a group of public defenders advocating for the new law in front of the Franklin Avenue subway station in Crown Heights.

“We want people to pay their fares. We just want it to be handled in a humane manner,” she added.

The legislators and advocates say the current penalties for fare beating disproportionately affect young people and non-white New Yorkers. According to state data cited by Hamilton, 92 percent of the more than 29,000 people arrested in 2015 for misdemeanor fare beating, or  “theft of service,” were people of color.

And last year, approximately 18,000 of the people arrested for fare evasion last year were 16- and 17-year-olds, Hamilton said.

“Imagine having a lifelong record for not paying $2.75,” he said.

The lawmakers’ proposal comes a month after Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr., said he’ll no longer prosecute fare beating in the borough, though Vance said that offenders will have to choose to enter a diversion plan to avoid prosecution.

Wright sees it as an “equity and parity” issue.

“If you go through a toll system on the interstate [without paying], you are not arrested. You are given a fine,” she said.

The legislators plan to introduce the bill, S.4841-B, in their respective houses when the new legislative session begins in January, they said.


  • 1. ddr wrote:

    i guess money for the city could help, but will this amount really be collected each time?

    • 2. Berel wrote:

      It’s not a money issue. Government doesn’t deal with issues anymore, so much as it persues interests.

      Just another seam unraveling from the fabric of rule of law in NY established in the Giuliani era.

      I expect to see increasing weed, turnstile jumping, aggressive panhandling and general thuggery in NY’s future, it’s broken window law enforcement’s inverse function.

      But, heh, who doesn’t miss Gotham.

  • 3. stupid idea wrote:

    So when they dont pay the fines and keep racking up tickets then what? The guy owes 20 tickets for the same offense and can never be arrested?? Not to mention all the times cops stop these guys and they have guns. Thats now more guns on the street.

  • 5. CR wrote:

    Pat Moynihan just called. Says remember three words; “defining deviancy down.”

  • 6. Sorry I agree wrote:

    If some kid is stupid enough to jump over the turnstile he shouldn’t have a jail sentence to ruin his life.

    Also if some kid really has to pee – it isn’t anything sexual – he made a misjudgement. He should have to clean it up. As long as that was all it was.

    Stupid teenage absences of judgement should not be criminalized. We have gotten to the point where the real criminals with blood on their hands get off with short sentences and people who make a stupid lack of judgement get their lives ruined. It is not a crime to be stupid!!!

    • 7. Berel wrote:

      You would be correct if this wasn’t taking place in a climate of utter anarchy and lawlessness and also facts weren’t that no kid in the history of ever went to prison for turnstile jumping. This isn’t about kids, it never is.

      It’s about reducing law enforcement’s footprint, which a perverse aim of all black policy advocates and all black criminals but of no black law abiding citizen. The only local message here is that it’s okay to jump the turnstile, with an attendant global message of leis din velies dayan.

      You are being had. No kid goes to jail for jumping the turnstile.

  • 9. Let it go, there are bigger issues wrote:

    This is very silly, childish & stupid, there is no way that your gona be able to bill every dude who jumps the turnstile, how u gona find out where he lives etc, I say let it go, there are way bigger issues that NYC has to take care of then a bunch of morons who jump the turnstile, I mean get real, there is serious crime out there & to waste police officers by having them stand in subway stations is seriously silly, unless there is crime going on that’s another thing, but just to see who is gona jump the turnstile, give me a break, yes it’s everyone’s obligation to pay for the MTA but what are u gona do, run after every little jerk who does this, there are way way way bigger issues the city has to deal with then worry about this, this is the last thing maybe maybe, too many things going on, they should be focused on affordable housing, combatting crime etc not worrying about whose jumping over the turnstile, this is petty, silly, stupid, moronic, dumb & inept, Seriously the city should be focusing on bigger issues, they need to get a Life !! Thank you, I hope this law doesn’t pass, bec it will be taking away from police officers who really need to be out on the streets !!

  • 10. The SBS buses & Fare Hikes wrote:

    Here you have another issue the SBS (Select Bus Service) buses which, in Bklyn it’s the B44 which runs from Sheepshead Bay to the Wb bridge, during the day u have to buy a ticket before u get on the bus & there are inspectors that come on to check & see if u bought a ticket @ main stops, if u don’t have a ticket u get fined don’t remember how much it is, but @ night there are no inspectors & u could wind up getting on the bus riding for free & nothing happens, so you see not everything is the city gona be able to run after, here is a prime example, so seriously I think they need to let the turnstile thing go, hey no one is innocent, u can’t let these small things get to you, I think State Sen. Jesse Hamilton & Assemblylady Tremaine Wright have too much free time on their hands to be very very very worried & spending a lot of time on this, there are very very very Bigger things & issues that they need to take care of & act on than this, this is so so Crazy & Insane that they are actually spending time & going all the way to Albany for this ? They need to seek & obtain a life, This is Truly Moronic & a Waste of Time. Anyway the MTA always keeps on raising the fare רחמנא ליצלן, there is gona be a time that the fare is gona be so high G-d forbid that no 1 will be able to afford the MTA !! What about telling them about keeping transit fares @ a decent price & stop hiking them up every 2 years, enough is enough, I would like to petition this to Albany, this is more important, being able to afford to commute so we could make a living 2 support our families, not making the private owners of the MTA wealthier, this is a way bigger issue, I say we stand up & say enough of the Fare Hikes, you guys care about a bunch of Morons jumping over, well I think Hiking up the MTA price is a lot worse & Nastier than this, the turnstile is small small stuff compared to this, this is what us Bklynites & all NYkers should be screaming & yelling @ Albany about not this petty insignificant turnstile jumping garbage, learn to prioritize things. Thank u

  • 11. Yossel wrote:

    Great idea! Muggers and attackers can now freely enter the subway and do their business without getting removed by the cops.

    Another example of the decline of quality of life in New York City and America in general. We are already in the toilet, these two politicians will pull the flush handle…

  • 12. To #11 wrote:

    Where do muggers & attackers come into this ? We are talking about fining ppl who jump the turnstile, the way it sounds from u is that the city is letting muggers & attackers out of prison to do whatever they want, what your saying has nothing to do with the article, we are talking about should the city fine ppl who jump the turnstile, a lot of ppl are saying that they should let it go & focus on bigger & better things, yes of course if someone is G-d Forbid getting mugged or attacked definitely the police will come make an arrest & take care of the issue, but that doesn’t mean that we have to have police @ every single subway station in Bklyn, Manhattan, Queens & the Bronx, acc to you, your saying that if we don’t have police @ every single subway station that muggers & attackers will go freely doing their horrible things without getting removed by the police, I’m saying “No” that’s not the case, I’m saying there are bigger & more important things in this city, than worrying about a bunch of creeps who jump the turnstile, where does your comment come in here, no one is saying to let attackers & muggers do freely whatever they want, what’s the connection please could u explain, ty

    • 13. Strap hamger wrote:

      The turnstile jumpers are not law abiding citizens.
      So many have been found with guns, knives and other illegal possessions.
      Even the people who walk through from car to car are breaking the law and many were found to be carrying weapons.
      Little criminals go on to become big criminals. They must be stopped.
      I’m sorry, but if you can’t afford $5.50 a day to get to your job, them fine a local job and walk there.
      Would you also condone hijacking cabs because the dates are to high?
      Btw, morning turnstile jumpers at Utica avenue station look like 4th generation welfare role recipients, not people trying to get to work.
      We have to return to broken window policing, it’s the only method we had that reduced crime


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