Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

 

Bail reform

Bail reform

  • 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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  • melinda katz ribbon mass bail out

    (photo: Office of Queens Borough President Melinda Katz [CJ])


    The Mass Bail Out action is currently underway, attempting to post bail for women and youth on Rikers Island and in city jails throughout New York. At last count, there were about 243 women held in jail because they cannot afford bail -- not because they’ve been proven guilty of their charges. We think this is an incredible and necessary effort rooted in the quest for justice. 

    The only legal reason to hold a person on bail is to ensure they

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  • arniess

    (photo via @RoryLancman)


    The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Foundation’s just-launched “mass bail out” -- which could release from New York City jails 500 incarcerated indigent young and women defendants charged with misdemeanors and violent felonies -- is a good plan if it is implemented responsibly.

    The plan dramatically highlights the bail system’s glaring inequities, as thousands sit in jail for months, unable to pay bail.

    Not surprisingly, the plan has caused an immediate and strong reaction, particularly from the NYPD.

    NYPD Commissioner James

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  • whats the data point


    What's The [Data] Point? Episode 52 -- 5,000, with Liz Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

    glazer elizabeth pod...

  • mbdb graduation

    (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Social media was full of despair as advocates bemoaned the failure of New York state government to approve bail reform legislation in the recently-passed budget. The push to eliminate cash bail brought together dozens of organizations and hundreds of concerned citizens to advance an important reform. This kind of mobilization is not atypical – advocacy campaigns tend to focus on passing legislation or electing officials.

    Eliminating cash bail is a good idea, and over time, our bet is that it will end up

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  • govandrewcuomo cjustice

    Gov. Cuomo at church (Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    It has been nearly three years since Kalief Browder tragically ended his own life after being caged, abused, and tortured on Rikers Island. Elected officials promised us that his story would be a turning point and that New York would fundamentally transform a criminal justice system designed to criminalize low-income black and brown New Yorkers and then place a bounty, through the money bail system, on our freedom. With another new state budget now passed in Albany, it is

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  • Andrew Cuomo

    Gov. Cuomo at an update prison (Governor's Office)


    Anyone following New York City politics knows about JustLeadershipUSA’s mission to close the jails at Rikers Island. In less than a year, the #CLOSErikers campaign successfully pressured Mayor Bill de Blasio to commit to shuttering the jail complex. It is no longer a question of if Rikers will close, but when. But the campaign has always known that

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  • de Blasio rikers ponte officers

    On Rikers Island (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    There is an ongoing conversation in New York about how to fix the bail system that many agree is broken, keeping too many poor people in jail after they are arrested for low-level nonviolent offenses but cannot afford to post bond and, at times, allowing individuals back onto the street who are prone to violence but able to pay bail. Efforts at reform have been full of fits and starts.

    About a month ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced measures to make

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  • MMV hearing pencil

    Speaker Mark-Viverito (photo via flickr)


    The City Council’s long-awaited public bail fund, a project spearheaded by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, is one step closer to being operational after receiving another required approval from state authorities.  

    Mark-Viverito announced the plan to create a $1.4 million

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