Support for Criminal Justice reform

Local News

ALBANY, NY – During the past legislative session, New York state lawmakers pushed through bail and discovery reforms that will go into effect next month.

NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca has more on the changes and why advocates say the reforms were needed despite some opposition.

((Amy Jones, Citizen Action of New York))
Public safety is families being together.

Bail reform advocate Amy Jones says she’s been arrested more than 23 times in her life.

The formerly incarcerated mother says she spent about 15 years in and out of jails and rehabs.

And she says she lost custody of one of her daughters about 20 years ago because she couldn’t afford a thousand dollar bail.

((Amy Jones, Citizen Action of New York))
It was survival crime. It was a very small and petty bunch of misdemeanors that added up to a bunch of time.

Advocates like Jones say that money shouldn’t govern whether or not a person is kept behind bars while awaiting trial.

The new law eliminates cash bail for the majority of misdemeanor and non-violent felony offenses.

Judges will also have to set 3 forms of bails including an unsecured or partially secured bond.

Nicole Triplett with the NYCLU says judges have “historically defaulted” to money and commercial bail bonds.

((Nicole Triplett, NYCLU))
That’s huge because people will not have to be forced to pay the full amount to be released.

And she says police officers in the field will also issue citations for Class E felony offenses and below rather than make arrests.

((Nicole Triplett, NYCLU))
Tell the person that that person has to show up to court at a certain time and then be able to resolve the case in that way.

She says under the new laws electronic monitoring will be more limited, judges will have to explain pre-trial decisions, and court reminders will be required to go out.

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