Ex-Gov. David Paterson ripped into Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie for refusing to back a law to toughen up criminal sentences for violent shoplifters and other thugs who assault retail workers.

“I don’t really understand that. I was kind of surprised he appeared to say this, ” Paterson said on 770 WABC’s The Cats Roundtable.

Heastie (D-Bronx) argued last week that increasing penalties as proposed by Gov. Kathy Hochul won’t reduce crime.

“I just don’t believe raising penalties is ever a deterrent to crime,” Heastie said.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) has sided with Heastie, saying she preferred other avenues to combat shoplifting than stiffening sentencing.

But Paterson said he was shocked by Heastie closing the door.

“These are people who are not high wage earners. Most of them are not unionized … When people come in to rob the stores … that there should be any leniency for this type of thing, I really don’t understand that,” Paterson told radio host John Catsimatidis Sunday.

“[Heastie] is a very good friend of mine. A very decent person. I’d like to have this conversation with him one-to-one.”

Hochul’s budget called for a crackdown on an explosion of retail theft including jacking up penalties for people who assault retail workers as well as investments in state police and district attorneys teams to go after the biggest crooks.

“The chaos must stop,” Hochul boomed in her State of the State address in January.

Paterson agreed, saying putting offenders behind bars longer means they won’t commit more crimes and are less likely to do so when they’re released because they’re older.

A former governor, lieutenant governor and state senator, Paterson said he’s always backed fair treatment for criminal defendants — but not “revolving door” justice for serial criminals who are spending little or no time in prison.

“It’s like a revolving door. There’s no opportunity for any type of rehabilitation. There’s no opportunity for contrition with the Parole Board,” Paterson said.

“People like myself who have always been advocates for a fair trial for people — not let the deck get stacked against them as it used to be in the past — are having to recognize that there’s going to have to be a greater sense of punishment than there is right now,” he added.

Paterson said he heard from Heastie recently, who told him — perhaps only half in jest — that he sounded more a Republican.

“I was coming out of the [WABC] studio … and I get in the car and someone calls, and I pick up the phone and this voice says to me, ‘When are you changing your registration to Republican?’ It was Carl Heastie. I said, ‘Carl, I’ve been trying to call you for three months, and you haven’t returned my call. If this is what it takes, I’ll sign up tomorrow,” Paterson said, laughing.

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