Gotham Gazette

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Bail reform

Bail reform

  • Max Politics Podcast: Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris on the Court of Appeals, Gun Control, & More

    Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (photo: NYS Senate Photography)


    July 12, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris on the Court of Appeals, Gun Control, & More

    State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, a Queens Democrat, joined the show to discuss upheaval at the New York Court of Appeals, redistricting, bail reform, gun control, the upcoming State Senate elections, and more.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter @TweetBenMax. You can listen to the

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  • My Son’s Pretrial Incarceration Shows Everything Wrong with the System

    "Rikers is a death sentence" (photo: Gerardo Romo/NYC Council Media Unit)


    If you listen tothe NYPD Commissioner, you would think that after bail reform was passed in 2019, everyone was released from jail and judges lost all power to send people there. I know from painful personal experience that is false.

    Thousands of people are still

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  • Max Politics Podcast: Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt on State Budget Priorities

    Senate GOP Leader Rob Ortt at a rally (photo: NY Senate GOP)


    March 29, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt on State Budget Priorities

    Rob Ortt, the State Senate Republican Minority Leader, joined the show to discuss state budget negotiations and top priorities for the GOP conference, including bail reform and more, as well as the potential Buffalo Bills stadium deal.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter @TweetBenMax. You can listen to the show through the

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  • Adams Testifies Before State Legislature with Focus on Criminal Justice Reforms, Mayoral Control of Schools, and Social Safety Net

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    Mayor Adams (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday appeared before the State Legislature to testify on Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget for the 2023 fiscal year and his own Albany agenda, as well as take questions from legislators. Adams, a former state senator making his first appearance before the Legislature as mayor, reiterated his calls for changes to state criminal justice laws, pushed for changes in state law to enhance child care and tax credits for working New Yorkers, asked for more state

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  • City's Supervised Release Program Has Positive Impacts Without Increases in Missed Court Appearances or Rearrest Rates, Report Finds

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    Mayor de Blasio makes an announcement (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Defendants in New York City's pretrial supervised release program are no more likely to miss court than people who have bail set and are not rearrested at a higher rate, according to a city-commissioned study by MDRC's Center for Criminal Justice Research being released Thursday.

    The research, contracted by the Mayor's Office of

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  • After Intake Pause, City's Supervised Release Program Set for Large Expansion

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    Four New York City District Attorneys (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    After a four-month hiatus as the courts struggled to go virtual amid the coronavirus outbreak, New York City's supervised pretrial release program is taking new clients again in all five boroughs.

    Supervised release, established as a middle-ground between bail and release on recognizance, allows defendants to return to their communities before trial, under the watch of a case manager who checks in regularly, and also links the client to social services. The program

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  • City Budget Crisis, State Bail Reform Could Delay Closure of Rikers Island Jails

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    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The Rikers Island jail complex, a notorious and decrepit institution sitting on 413 acres in the East River, was slated for closure well before New York City became the country’s epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, during which the complex has emerged as a hotspot for infections that have led to the deaths of several detainees and corrections officers.

    But the timeline for shutting down the jail complex and building local jails in four boroughs has been thrust into uncertainty by countervailing

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: Senator Michael Gianaris on 'Canceling Rent' & Other Responses to the Coronavirus Crisis

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    State Senator Michael Gianaris (photo: Senator Michael Gianaris/flickr)


    April 15, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Senator Michael Gianaris on 'Canceling Rent' & State Senate Priorities

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    State Senator Michael Gianaris, a Queens Democrat who is the Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate, joined the show to discuss his push to

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  • Bail Reform Rollbacks are a Dangerous Failing of Moral Courage

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    State lawmakers wrongly bowed to law enforcement pressure on bail reform, the author writes (photo: governor's office)


    Predictably, and disappointingly, the New York State Legislature rolled back last year’s historic and hard fought bail reforms at the eleventh hour. It was an act of cruelty after providing our communities the briefest of reprieves following the historic enactment of bail reform just three months ago, on January 1.

    Less than two minutes of floor debate allowed racists and prison profiteers to win in their crusade to

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  • Rolling Back Bail Reform Amid Coronavirus Outbreak Would Be Additionally Irresponsible

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    Sochie Nnaemeka, the author (photo: @sochiesays)


    In moments of crisis, we see what our leaders value. Over the past week, coronavirus has spread to Rikers Island. Our state should be focused on keeping detained New Yorkers and correctional workers safe and healthy. Instead, elected officials may roll back bail reforms in response to fear-mongering by opponents of the new law. If our leaders in Albany choose to reduce the number of people eligible to await their trial from home, the jail population could grow during a dangerous pandemic. We must put human safety over

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  • What’s Really Behind Efforts to Reform Bail Reform? A Familiar Theme

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    Law enforcement officials have pushed for bail reform rollbacks (photo: Governor's Office)


    The hyperbolic vitriol about bail reform in New York should be viewed in context – it is but one example of the ways those with entrenched power in the criminal legal system rebel against even the slightest diminution of, or threat to, their authority.

    Despite a growing movement for change, police officers, prosecutors, and judges cling to their absolute power to arrest, prosecute, and adjudicate with scant concern for due process, equal protection, or basic

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  • Bail and Other Misguided Laws Started with Loss of Republican Senate

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    Gov. Cuomo and Long Island Democrats (photo: Governor's Office)


    Long Island residents are finding out the hard way, once again, why it was so important to keep a balance of power in New York State via a Republican-controlled Senate and Democrat-controlled Assembly.

    When Democrats took over the Senate after the 2008 election, it led to the horrendous MTA tax, which forced schools, nonprofits, and businesses throughout Long Island to pay a huge payroll tax to foot the bill for the city transit system. The bill was put over the top by two Democratic senators

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  • Judicial Discretion Isn’t a Fix for Bail Reform; Bail Reform was the Answer to Judicial Discretion

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    (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    As law enforcement and elected officials scream for a do-over regarding bail reform, they urge that judges should be given the discretion to remand people they believe to be dangerous. NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea in a New York Times op-ed wrote, “We can trust New York State’s judges to use this discretion wisely and only for individuals who pose a real threat to the public or who continuously flout the justice system.” Shea’s boss, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, has been calling for giving judges discretion

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  • Surveillance and the City: Tracked Until Proven Innocent?

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    NYPD tabletop meeting (photo: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayoral Photography Office)


    As advocates of mass incarceration slowly realize they are losing their grip on political power, they are flailing to find new strategies to undermine the state’s recent bail reforms. Under the media-driven, police union-inspired, fear campaign against reform, many advocates of the carceral state are pushing a new form of confinement: ...

  • The Social Value of Bail Reform

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    Assemblymember Blake, one of the authors, at a recent rally


    On January 1, as New York took a considerable step towards a more just and equitable criminal justice system, we heard the all-too-predictable objections to bail reform. Now, along with the chorus that tried to shout down reforms in the last legislative session, we hear some of those who supported these reforms wanting to undo a policy that takes seriously the rights of low-income New Yorkers and communities of color—because of a tragic incident in Monsey that has nothing to do with bail or

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  • Three Democratic Leaders in Albany, Three Different Positions on Altering Bail Reforms

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    Gov. Cuomo and other state leaders (photo: Darren McGee, Governor's Office)


    In the opening days of the 2020 state legislative session, debate continues to rage over whether to revisit major changes to the bail system made last year and key Albany policy-makers have been staking out initial positions in a reignited conversation that could lead to revising the reforms.

    The three top decision-makers -- Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, all Democrats -- have each taken a

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  • 5 Things to Watch in Cuomo's State of the State Speech

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    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)


    Having already released more than 30 proposals, Governor Andrew Cuomo will unveil his full 2020 agenda for this year’s legislative session on Wednesday as he delivers his annual State of the State address in Albany. Unlike last year and several others during his prior nine years as governor, Cuomo’s speech won’t be accompanied with the release of his executive budget proposal, which is expected soon and must address a $6.1 billion projected deficit for the next fiscal year.

    Cuomo’s 2020 agenda will

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  • Real Criminal Justice Reform Requires Standing Up to Fear-Mongering

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    (photo: Governor's Office)


    Nearly five years ago, Jerome Murdough, an African-American Marine Corps veteran, died on Rikers Island due to a combination of injustice, inhumanity, and medical neglect. Afflicted by homelessness and mental illness, Murdough tragically passed away when temperatures in his cell reached 100 degrees – heat that was contraindicated with his medicine – and he baked to death. The reason for this death sentence: He was cold one night and sought shelter in a public housing stairwell, where he was arrested for trespassing and jailed on $2,500

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: Debating Major Criminal Justice Reforms Taking Effect in January

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    SI DA McMahon at a press conference (photo: @NYCPBA)


    November 27, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Debating Major Criminal Justice Reforms Set to Take Effect in January

    da mcmahon marie nidaye 150Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon and Marie Ndiaye of Legal Aid Society joined the show to discuss their respective concerns about and support for major criminal justice reforms passed

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  • 19 Things Melinda Katz Promised To Do As Queens District Attorney

    Melinda Katz

    Melinda Katz (photo: Queens Borough President office)


    Queens Borough President Melinda Katz is well-positioned to be elected the next district attorney for Queens, filling a vacancy created earlier this year by longtime DA Richard Brown, who had not planned to run for another term even before his death in May. Katz emerged victorious in a hard-won Democratic primary that was decided after a recount and court battle by a razor thin margin, and she is now facing Joseph Murray, an attorney, former NYPD officer, and barely known Republican challenger in a borough where

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  • An Unsigned Piece of New York’s Decarceration Puzzle

    dannemora cuomo

    (photo: the governor's office)


    Where is Assembly Bill 6980? It updates New York’s Charitable Bail Fund Act to allow approved organizations to bond more people out of jail. The bill passed the Assembly on June 17 and the Senate on June 19, but it hasn’t been sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo, or requested by the governor for his signature, and it’s not clear why.

    Bail reform activists finally had their day this year when the New York Legislature passed a comprehensive law

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  • For Bail Reform to Work Invest in Communities, Not Prosecutors

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    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    We are in a unique moment in history. New York City is embroiled in a process to build new jails -- the aftershock of a grassroots campaign to shut down the human rights catastrophe at Rikers Island. New York State recently passed bail reform, which must be implemented in every county on or before January 1, 2020, and across the country “criminal justice reform” and “ending mass incarceration” have become mainstream conversations -- an unthinkable reality just ten years ago. It’s a moment that

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  • How to Make New York’s New Criminal Justice Reforms Really Work

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    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Change swept through Albany as lawmakers passed a suite of reforms aimed at reducing the harms inflicted by the criminal justice system. These changes, which include significant limitations on the use of bail and incarceration, will go a long way towards making our justice system less biased and more responsive to the needs of low-income New Yorkers and, in particular, people of color.

    The next challenge that confronts us is how to move beyond simply avoiding harms and toward the

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  • A Closer Look at Albany Democrats’ Compromise on Bail Reform

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    (photo: @zellnor4ny)


    At a Sunday press conference, following his overnight announcement of a $175.5 billion budget deal, Governor Andrew Cuomo heralded a criminal justice reform agreement with the Legislature, and thanked one member of the Assembly in

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  • New York City Needs Real Criminal Justice Reform from Albany

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    Speaker Johnson, the author (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    In New York, you can be locked up based on purported evidence that isn’t even disclosed to you, until a trial that can be postponed indefinitely, unless you are wealthy enough to pay your way out. That is the reality under our state’s antiquated laws governing cash bail, discovery, and speedy trial. With Democrats truly controlling both houses of the state Legislature and the governorship for the first time in decades, we now have a meaningful opportunity to

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