Last year, New York took a historic leap forward and passed bail reforms that significantly expand pretrial freedom and end cash bail in 90% of cases. Today, 6,000 fewer New Yorkers are in jail on any given day. This is a tremendous achievement.
Unfortunately, since just days after the reforms took effect, opponents have been spreading fear and misinformation and calling for rollbacks that would expose thousands more New Yorkers to pretrial detention, exacerbate racial disparities, and increase the population in jails across the state. Only now, with COVID-19, the costs would be higher than ever before.
Now more than ever, spending time on unnecessary legislation that would expose thousands more New Yorkers to dangerous, unsanitary jails like Rikers Island is the exact opposite of public safety. We must preserve the historic reforms passed in 2019 and keep as many New Yorkers as possible safe during this pandemic. New York can not afford to take a step backwards.
Everyone who cares about justice reform must stand strong and take action to protect the 2019 bail reforms from rollback efforts. New Yorkers are depending on it.