Statement from NYCDS on Governor’s Proposed Decimation of Bail Law
March 31, 2023
***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
STATEMENT FROM NEW YORK COUNTY DEFENDER SERVICES
ON GOVERNOR’S PROPOSED DECIMATION OF BAIL LAW
(NEW YORK, NY) –Stan Germán, Executive Director at New York County Defender Services, issued the following statement:
“At its core, the governor’s clear intent is to jail more Black and brown New Yorkers. She wants the public to believe that locking up more people is what makes communities safer. This may make for good sound bites and tabloid headlines, but it is not true.
This false narrative has been debunked by reliable data and contradicted by lived experience. As studies after studies after studies have shown, the historic civil rights bail reforms passed in 2019 did not make New York less safe. It allowed parents to stay at home with their children, allowed people to keep their jobs and remain in college, and allowed thousands of New Yorkers, mostly Black and brown men, to avoid the acute trauma of Rikers Island, Erie County Holding Center, and other violent and abusive jail facilities in our state.
Notably, the changes the governor seeks to make do not merely seek to roll back the reforms that passed in 2019. Rather, she seeks to undermine the foundational underpinnings of New York’s bail laws that have existed for decades. The purpose of bail in New York has always been the laudable one of ensuring an individual’s return to court. To expand this purpose, as the governor now seeks to do, would be a seismic shift backhandedly allowing “dangerousness” determinations into the bail calculus. Referring to this as a mere 2019 rollback is disingenuous and misleading.
To make such changes to a fundamental part of our criminal procedure law in this rushed, contentious, and pressurized way will result in changes that are nonsensical, irresponsible, and would do true harm to our communities.
Yesterday, the criminal legal system reform movement lost a true leader and friend in Marvin Mayfield, the Director of Organizing at Center for Community Alternatives, who championed the reforms that the Governor seeks to, once again, callously dismantle for perceived political gain.
We call on the legislature to soundly reject the Governor’s Republican-led fearmongering agenda and instead advance the principles that Marvin Mayfield always advocated for: community justice, community healing, and investment in communities. These are the solutions that make us safer and stronger, not the failed racist policy of mass incarceration.”
New York County Defender Services is a public defense firm serving New York City’s most vulnerable communities since 1997. We zealously defend people accused of crimes in Manhattan’s Criminal and Supreme Courts, at no cost to the accused.