Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

 

Bail reform

Bail reform

  • dcc jponte rikers

    (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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  • 1 senator gianaris wbai 600

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


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

    michael gian senate 150

    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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  • 3 albany ltgov duffy grad

    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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  • sochie bail reform

    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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  • police grad cere

    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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  • gov li senators

    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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  • 28 judge criminal

    (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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  • one police executive

    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: ...

  • michael blake presser

    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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  • Cuomo legislative leaders

    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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  • Cuomo State of the State

    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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  • courtroom

    (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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  • nycpba wbai 600

    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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  • 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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  • 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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  • dept corrections commissioner

    (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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  • flchirlanemccray island

    (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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  • bail sign via zellnor

    (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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  • city council rikers jail coreyjohnson

    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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  • mxm logo

    Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette, and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits


    March 13, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: The Push for Criminal Justice Reform, with Tina Luongo of Legal Aid Society

    tina luongo 150With major criminal justice reforms being debated and negotiated in Albany, Tina Luongo of the Legal Aid Society joined the show to discuss the details of bail, speedy trial, and discovery reform

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  • gov cuomo provide update clinton

    (photo: the governor's office)


    Taking the stage at the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park last September, Governor Andrew Cuomo promised to end cash bail “once and for all,” a move that would launch New York into the national spotlight with New Jersey and California. “In America you are still innocent until proven guilty,” he told the cheering crowd. “And that’s whether you’re black or white. That’s whether you’re rich or poor.”

    The elimination of the cash bail system, under which poor black and Hispanic New Yorkers

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  • guards rikers

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series here

    Riding high on the crest of a Democratic blue wave powered by grassroots progressives, New York Democrats finally took back the state Senate

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  • assembly sponsor bail

    Assemblymember Latrice Walker (photo: Kevin Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series here

    Assemblymember Latrice Walker, a Brooklyn Democrat, has been pushing for criminal justice reform in New

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  • mayor bloomberg grad2010

    (photo: Spencer T. Tucker/Mayor's Office)


    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series here

    The Governor and the Legislature should use this once in a generation opportunity to make New York State the world leader in thoughtful and

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  • mxm logo

    Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette, and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits


    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series here

    November 14, 2018 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Bail Reform with Assemblymember Latrice Walker

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