As Albany debates pre-trial reform, voters across the political spectrum agree that New York State incarcerates too many individuals while they wait for their trials and overwhelmingly support pre-trial reforms to shorten case processing times and prevent defendants from taking plea deals before evidence is shared with them. New Yorkers are in favor of broad limits on pre-trial detention, including indicating strong support for a proposal that would keep individuals in jail before trial only if they are accused of a serious felony and deemed a flight risk. Support for pre-trial reform only increases after voters hear a simulated debate, indicating that voters’ already robust support is likely to increase and intensify the more they hear about this issue.
State lawmakers from both sides of the aisle clearly stand to benefit from supporting criminal justice reform. Proposed reforms earn strong support from left-leaning voters who Democratic candidates will need to turn out in November and also garner high support from Republican voters who see them as common-sense measures that will save taxpayer money at a time when New York taxpayers are feeling particularly squeezed. Additionally, criminal justice reforms are widely supported by independent voters and voters in key swing areas of the state who are most likely to tip the balance of elections this year.