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Turnstile jumping could soon be completely decriminalized in New York

Written by
Clayton Guse

Earlier this month, the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced that it will stop criminally prosecuting the bulk of turnstile jumpers in the borough. Now, a pair of Brooklyn lawmakers want to decriminalize the act throughout the entire city (and state). 

On Tuesday, State Senator Jesse Hamilton and Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright held a press conference in Crown Heights to announce a new bill that would make turnstile jumping a civil matter rather than a criminal one. If passed, the law would change turnstile jumping from an action that warrants an arrest to one that results in a fine. 

Hopping the turnstiles on the New York City subway system is currently classified as Theft of Services under the New York Penal Code. In 2016, the act led to nearly 10,000 arrests across town. Hamilton points out that 92 percent of those arrested for turnstile jumping are people of color. Turnstile jumpers began being prosecuted en masse during the 1990s under Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former police commissioner William Bratton's "broken windows" policing strategy. At that time, an estimated 250,000 people were skipping fares at subway station across the city on a daily basis. 

The bill will not be introduced until January, DNAinfo reports. If the subway doesn't fall apart by then, it would be a big win for advocates of dismantling some of the police department's more controversial practices. 

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