ALBANY, NY – FWD.us Senior Associate for Criminal Justice Reform Rodney Holcombe issued the following statement today on the rollbacks of 2019’s historic bail reform:
“Today, in the midst of a global pandemic and at a time when people are fighting to protect Black lives, New York is implementing bail reform rollbacks that will send thousands more people to jail. The historic bail reforms passed in 2019 ensured that thousands more people were home with their families during the pandemic rather than in jails with limited testing, limited opportunities to socially distance, and absurdly high rates of COVID-19 transmission. They meant that people maintained custody of their children, kept their jobs, and remained in their housing. They also meant that thousands more people would not be subject to the same tragic fate as Layleen Polanco and Kalief Browder. Unfortunately, lawmakers folded to a concerted effort driven by a vocal minority and fueled by racism, fear, and lies. Albany passed significant rollbacks to the 2019 reforms, despite repeated calls from New Yorkers to stop the rollbacks from happening. So now thousands more people, disproportionately Black and Latinx, will be subject to pretrial detention. This does nothing to protect public health or public safety and instead exacerbates our incarceration crisis at a time when evidence suggests we should be jailing far fewer people.
“We will continue to fight for the expansion of pretrial freedom, and urge the Governor and Legislature to reverse course and put an end to these rollbacks before more tragedy falls upon us. New Yorkers are depending on it.”