Across the country, we’re seeing movements achieve historic wins for fairness, racial justice, public health, and public safety. A new law ending cash bail in Illinois. Prosecutors in California, who care more about fairness than punishment. Marijuana legalization in New York that reinvests in communities. Yet prosecutors and police are fighting back with the same polarizing scare tactics that created mass incarceration to perpetuate it. We must demand justice not fear.

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At this pivotal moment, we should be building a fairer, safer future. Instead, our leaders are using fear to double down on the status quo.

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Right now, pro-carceral law enforcement and prosecutors are cherry-picking outlier cases and misrepresenting facts, the law itself, and case outcomes to try to defeat New York’s bail and discovery reform. We hope to collect your real stories about people released under the bail law. Please submit only one case story per form and please be careful not to provide information that may identify the client. If you have any questions, please contact us at




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The Briefing:

The honest truth about bail reform written by criminal justice experts

03-15-2023 New York
CBS News Story Lies To Readers About Bail Reform, Gun Violence

In the most recent example of reckless criminal justice reporting, a CBS News article falsely linked a Manhattan shooting with bail reform and Governor Hochul’s efforts to rollback the “least restrictive means” standard.

Fact Check: False

The Truth Read more

A police official told reporters that bail was set and paid in the underlying case, meaning the case has nothing to do with bail reform. The article lied to readers by linking an instance of gun violence with bail reform and editorializing that the case will “stoke debate” in Albany.

03-13-2023 New York
Suffolk County DA Proposes Tired War On Drugs Policies To Address Opioid Crisis

Ray Tierney called for a series of unimaginative and failed solutions to address the state’s challenging opioid crisis.

Fact Check: False

The Truth Read more

We have decades of evidence showing that Tierney’s ideas – locking more people up pre-trial and enacting longer sentences for people convicted of drug crimes – do not work, instead magnifying harm that disproportionately affects Black and Brown New Yorkers.

03-09-2023 New York
Media Coverage of Hochul Proposal Continues to Fail to Push Back On False Claims

Media coverage of Governor Hochul’s radical proposal to eliminate the “least restrictive means” standard once again failed to challenge the governor’s illogical and unsubstantiated claims, misleading readers and continuing a pattern of undermining support for a successful policy.

Fact Check: Misleading

The Truth Read more

The issue is clear. There is no inconsistency in the law and no reason judges should be confused about a standard that has existed for decades. Moreover, top court officials told lawmakers at a joint hearing that judges don’t need additional training to understand the state’s bail laws.

03-07-2023 New York
Bail Reform Falsely Tied to Tragic Manhattan Crime

A tragic and troubling crime is being falsely tied to bail reform in the media this week, distracting from the ongoing success of bail reform

Fact Check: False

The Truth Read more

This case has nothing to do with bail reform. The man accused of the crime was released from pretrial detention in 2020 because prosecutors violated his right to a speedy trial, not because of bail reform. He also had already pleaded guilty, so bail was no longer an issue in his case.

02-23-2023 New York
Albany County DA Continues to Mislead and Lie About Bail Reform

Albany County District Attorney David Soares’ recent op-ed in the New York Post is riddled with inaccuracies, data manipulation, and outright lies.

Fact Check: False

The Truth Read more

Bail reform is not a driver of crime, and advocating for carceral policies harms marginalized communities.

02-15-2023 New York
Media Fails to Recognize Role in Undermining Support for Bail Reform

A recent op-ed and editorial underscore the media’s role in creating a gap in the public’s perception and the reality of New York’s bail reform laws.

Fact Check: False

The Truth Read more

Copaganda and misleading media coverage has undermined support for bail reform. Media coverage of bail reform has outpaced the increases in crime in New York City, and coverage of bail reform in the media spikes leading up to elections and rollbacks.

02-10-2023 New York
No Testimony to Support Hochul's Claims at Legislative Hearing

New York lawmakers heard no testimony to support Governor Kathy Hochul’s unsubstantiated claims that judges are confused and inconsistencies exist within the state’s bail laws.

Fact Check: False

The Truth Read more

Instead, the testimony often focused on the dangerous implications of Hochul’s proposal to remove the least restrictive means standard in bail-eligible cases.

02-03-2023 New York
Hochul's Bail Proposal Will Erase Decades-Old Standard, Increase Pretrial Jailing

Governor Kathy Hochul proposed eliminating the “least restrictive means” standard that judges use as a guiding principle in bail-eligible cases, stating she believes there are “inconsistencies” in the law as written.

Fact Check: Regressive

The Truth Read more

But Hochul has not identified what the inconsistencies are, and her proposal does away with a standard that has existed for decades in New York law and ensures more New Yorkers will suffer the dehumanizing and deadly impact of pretrial jailing.

02-02-2023 New York
Republican Lawmakers Attempt to Dispute Data Showing Clear Success of Bail Reform

Despite years of data pointing to the contrary, Republicans continued to falsely dispute bail reform’s efficacy. Lawmakers attempted to suggest that DCJS data could be undercounting the number of people who are not returning to court following bail reform.

Fact Check: False

The Truth Read more

A deeper dive into the data and the law demonstrates that bail reform has nothing to do with any gaps in DCJS data, and that there is no reason to believe failure-to-appear rates have increased.

01-26-2023 New York
Manhattan Institute Report Cherry-Picks Data to Criticize Discovery Reform

A recent report falsely claims that discovery reform laws have hamstrung New York’s criminal legal system. The Manhattan Institute’s report relies on flawed data and problematic assumptions to attempt to tie discovery reform to increases in crime in New York.

Fact Check: False

The Truth Read more

In reality, the dataset cited by the report points to the fact that discovery reform is working as intended. Discovery reform has caused prosecutors to take a long-needed look at the types of cases they prosecute. The laws did not create a burden to seek out any information, documents, or evidence that is not in the control of law enforcement in the vast majority of cases

01-23-2023 New York
Rep. Stefanik, GOP Members Call For Racist Dangerousness Standard

Representative Elise Stefanik and 10 New York Congressional Republicans introduced federal legislation this week to encourage New York to adopt a dangerousness standard in bail decisions, a proposal that would widen a judge’s ability to speculate about who might commit a future crime.

Fact Check: False

The Truth Read more

Dangerousness standards produce racist results and increased pretrial jail populations while further introducing ambiguity and opacity into our criminal legal system. Any dangerousness standard would only further exacerbate racial disparities in New York’s jails, where Black and brown people make up 73 percent of New Yorkers incarcerated in jail but 36 percent of the state’s population.

01-13-2023 New York
Governor Hochul Proposes Regressive Change to Bail Laws

In her State of the State book, Governor Hochul proposed eliminating the “least restrictive means necessary” standard that judges use when setting bail on eligible offenses, putting people in jail pretrial when she herself stated that bail reform does not drive crime and one’s freedom should not depend on one’s wealth.

Fact Check: Regressive

The Truth Read more

By eliminating the requirement that judges only set bail when “necessary,” Hochul is inviting judges to send people to jail when it is not necessary. Such a practice would violate the moral underpinning of the criminal justice system as well as the United States Constitution.

See All

The Latest

Gothamist: Study shows those released under NY's bail reform laws are less likely to get rearrested

"The study showed that the 2020 bail reform laws eliminating judges’ ability to impose bail for low-level crimes actually reduced the likelihood that someone would get arrested again." Justice, Safety, and Prosperity: New York's Bail Reform Success Story

"Not only have the 2019 bail reforms not driven any uptick in crime or failures to appear for court, the reforms also made an extraordinary and positive impact on the lives of the poor and working class New Yorkers who have historically been most harmed by cash bail and pretrial detention."

NY Daily News: Albany must keep bail reform in place

"Make no mistake, Hochul’s proposed amendment — removing the requirement that courts consider the least restrictive means for ensuring the accused’s presence — is a solution in search of a problem."

NY Daily News: Misleading news media reports blamed for backlash against New York bail reforms

"During the nine-month period between the passage and implementation of the law, public support dropped by 18 points in some polls. Over the same period, says, it counted 204 media reports linking crime to bail."

Gotham Gazette: Don't believe the hype; bail reform is good policy and good politics

"Politics is a tough business. But one thing remains true: voters will support you for doing the right thing, no matter how much money is spent to convince them not to. New Yorkers have asked for solutions on public safety, not scare tactics. They’re ready to address what’s really driving crime. Ignoring the data gets us nowhere."

Chicago Reader: Keep the Pretrial Fairness Act as is

"Provisions in the proposed amendments would remove the guardrails set up to achieve the law’s goal of reducing pretrial jailing while protecting public safety. The result of adopting these changes would be devastating; they would increase pretrial jailing, worsen racial disparities, and make our communities less safe."

Sun-Times: Putting an end to dead-end drug arrests is the right move

"The War on Drugs has mostly been a failure. Society can win at least one of the smaller battles by supporting strategies that steer the lowest-level offenders into treatment for their addiction."

The Intercept: Chicago sheriff denies new rights laid out in criminal justice reform

"Reform advocates said Cook County policies violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the new law, with Illinois lawmakers pushing to undo even more reforms."

Sun-Times: No bailing out on SAFE-T Act

"The blue wave that washed over Illinois on Tuesday gives Democrats the political cover to argue that despite the GOP blitzkrieg of negative TV ads, voters agree the provisions in the SAFE-T Act are sound public policy."

New York Daily News: To fight crime, be economically progressive

"Evidence shows that locking more and more people up and other punitive criminal justice policies are costly, ineffective and racist...Workforce and economic policies, including initiatives aimed at low-income workers still dislocated by the pandemic, strengthening the social safety net, and increasing affordable housing are what really makes a candidate tough on crime."

East Hampton Star: The truth about bail reform

"The claim that bail reform in New York State has led to an increase in violence is not supported by facts. This centerpiece of Representative Lee Zeldin’s campaign for governor, as well as that of many down-ticket candidates, has been widely rejected as false, but you would not know that from the barrage of advertisements making the link, when all the evidence is to the contrary. This may not matter to the intended audience, for whom the message is meant to amplify fear and motivate their vote."

Newsday: Bail reform takeaways from new stats: Little increase in rearrests, court truancy

"Two years into New York’s bail reform law, a new state report shows that criminal suspects are being rearrested at roughly the same rate as they were before the overhaul of the bail law was enacted. It also indicates that judges, who can’t assess bail as frequently as before, are increasingly deploying non-monetary supervision tools such as ankle bracelets to monitor suspects. And it shows that the bail reform law hasn’t sparked a rash of no-shows at required court appearances, as some had feared."

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