NEW YORK — A new report released today by FWD.us found that efforts to roll back the historic bail reform that went into effect on January 1st would disproportionately impact Black New Yorkers and people outside of New York City. Reforms are already helping to reduce New York’s incarcerated population, and new data shows that any rollback efforts would undermine this important progress against discrimination in our criminal justice system.
The report found that prior to the implementation of the new bail reforms, legally innocent Black New Yorkers and people outside of New York City had the lowest rates of pretrial release. Simply put, Black New Yorkers and people outside the five boroughs will benefit most from the recently enacted bail reforms and stand to lose the most if these laws are rolled back.
Prior to reform, roughly three-quarters of New Yorkers charged with crimes were able to await their day in court at home, but these rates were not equal across communities. People charged with crimes outside of New York City were 17% less likely to be released than those charged in the City. And racial disparities in pretrial release rates were stark, particularly outside the five boroughs. In the counties outside of New York City, White people were 20% more likely to be released pretrial than Black people.
“Opponents of the historic bail reform that went into effect on January 1st want to scare lawmakers into putting more people behind bars before they ever go to trial,” said FWD.us New York State Director, Rena Karefa-Johnson. “What’s at stake in this fearmongering and misinformation campaign is some of the most meaningful progress New York State has advanced yet to combat discrimination and disparity in its criminal justice system. Lawmakers should reject any effort to roll back these reforms that are already expanding pretrial freedom and reducing racial and regional disparities in pretrial release.”
This data makes clear why it is vital for elected officials to protect the bail reforms they passed last year and ensure the presumption of innocence for the communities that have been most impacted by mass incarceration. The consequences of rollback couldn’t be clearer.