Why We Can’t Go Backwards On Bail Reform In New York

Black Local and National News

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(Photos: YouTube\Twitter)In 2019, the New York State Legislature passed a bail reform law that pushed New York’s criminal legal system in the right direction. The law – though it didn’t end cash bail altogether – was a nod to the idea that no New Yorker should be forced to sit in a jail cell before being found guilty of any crime.The law took away some of the leverage prosecutors have to coerce accused people into pleading guilty. Nationally, 97 percent of cases are resolved through plea deals and only three percent go to trial. A big reason why is that when people are locked in jail while their case proceeds, they have a powerful incentive to take a plea deal just to get out of jail. Prosecutors across the state are upset that this threat no longer exists for people accused of almost all misdemeanors and most non-violent felonies.Rather than working to prove people’s guilt in court, district attorneys across the state instead ramped up their opposition to the law. They were joined by police departments. Law enforcement agencies understood that they could shift the blame for crimes they failed to prevent or solve onto the bail law, while insisting...