New York rolled back cash bail for criminal defendants two years ago, and a new report says that has not increased recidivism, The Associated Press reports.
“Bail reform has been widely successful allowing our clients to stay in their communities with their families with no measureable impact on public safety,” said Marie Ndiaye, of the Legal Aid Society’s Decarceration Project. “The data on bail reform speaks for itself. The overwhelmingly majority of New Yorkers on pretrial release do not commit new crimes and return for future court appearances.”
City Controller Brad Lander said his analysis shows recidivism has “remained virtually unchanged” at around 4% since the bail reforms began in January 2020, the March 22 story reported.
Less than 1% of recidivism for violent crimes remained unchanged as well, AP reported.
The data does not match the fears of the reform’s critics and “it’s important that policy making follows facts rather than on fears,” stated Lander, a Democrat told the AP.
“New York was among the first state to eliminate bail and detention for most nonviolent crimes, following a half-dozen states, including New Jersey and Nebraska,” according to the story.
Bail reform was a major milestone for criminal justice advocate after the tragic suicide of Kalief Browder, a 16-year-old sent to New York’s Rikers Island, whom spent three years there – two years in solitary confinement – before charges were dropped.
Browder, a low-level offender, was unable to afford bail, while wealthier defendants get released.
Part of the rollbacks would include detention measures, adopted by Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration, which would give judges broader discretion in determining bail for defendants with criminal histories.
The data shows that bail reform is not the cause for increased rates in crime and that other policies and measures need to be put in place to keep our communities safe, concluded Lander.
A 2018 California law eliminating cash bail was blocked in 2020 by a ballot initiative sponsored by the bail bond industry.