We wanted to make sure you saw this Times Union Editorial Board piece urging New York lawmakers not to revisit bail reform laws without first getting the facts to guide any meaningful criminal justice reform efforts. The editorial board urges state legislators and Governor Hochul to seek “a thorough, honest, dispassionate study of the effects of criminal justice reform — not quick fixes that may fix nothing at all, and only make our criminal justice system less just.”
“The debate over bail reform — and other reforms like raising the age at which young people can be tried as adults or not sending people on parole back to prison for minor violations — has been rife with disinformation… Before politicians anxious to appease an uneasy public go grasping for solutions, it’s essential that they get some facts. That’s what Governor Hochul and the Legislature should be seeking.”
Earlier this year, FWD.us released a report, “Freedom, Then the Press: New York Media and Bail Reform,” highlighting the fear-mongering and misinformation around bail reform, New York media outlets’ handling of the reform laws, and their effect on the eventual bail rollbacks, which are at least partially responsible for an uptick in New York’s pretrial jail population.
The report clearly lays out how media outlets’ coverage played a significant role in enabling the rollbacks by publishing inaccurate information, using racist and dehumanizing language to describe people impacted by the criminal justice system, and by relying solely on law enforcement sources in reporting. This research is just the most recent entry into the body of work demonstrating that reporting practices play a major role in creating and perpetuating mass incarceration.
Additionally, this New York Bail Reform: Key Facts sheet provides important at-a-glance information about bail reform, how it impacted incarceration levels and public safety, why New York’s bail system needed changes in the first place – and how the “campaign of misinformation confuses New Yorkers and threatens to undermine life-saving reforms that have advanced justice and increased safety inside and outside jails.”