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

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.

12-16-2022 New York
Report Finds Misleading Coverage of Bail Reform Eroded Public Support for Reform

A new report demonstrates how persistent misinformation in the media about bail reform has undermined support for the modest reforms in New York.

Fact Check: True

The Truth Read more

The report from, which builds on a similar 2021 report, clearly illustrates through a new data analysis that bail reform does not undermine public safety or contribute to any increases in crime. Freedom, Then the Press, Volume II finds that over 1,600 stories have falsely linked bail reform and crime despite the emerging studies that demonstrated low rearrest rates for people impacted by bail reform.

12-13-2022 New York
Mayor Adams Misrepresents Bail Laws In CNN Interview

Adams falsely blamed bail reform for a sensational alleged assault in New York. Even though a judge set bail, the mayor misrepresented the effect of bail reform on the case and advocated for mass pretrial detention despite ongoing human rights violations and deaths at Rikers Island.

Fact Check: False

The Truth Read more

Bail reform had nothing to do with this case. The man charged in this case was not rearrested on pretrial release, nor was he released under bail reform. A judge had discretion to set bail in for the assault-related charges and chose to set bail at $7,500.

12-02-2022 New York
New York Post Exploits Resident To Fearmonger About Bail Reform

The New York Post once again fearmongered about bail reform in a story meant to scare readers and advocate for policies that seek to punish people instead of meeting their basic needs.

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Truth Read more

The reality is that the Post’s story has more to do with our failed approach to public health and safety than it has to do with bail reform. Multiple arrests for the same alleged low-level offense indicate a person’s basic needs are not being met, not that the person should be jailed, likely on unaffordable bail. A person’s repeated contact with the criminal legal system is a sign of the system’s failure, not, as the Post suggests, a sign of the need for increased contact.

11-18-2022 New York
Former NY Judge Admits Colleagues Violated Law, Misrepresents Bail Reform

A former judge in Western New York described how judges routinely violated the statutory purpose of bail and misrepresented the bail reform law. Larson also showed a callous disregard for the harms of pretrial incarceration and fearmongered about rearrests.

Fact Check: False

The Truth Read more

Bail is meant to ensure a person’s appearance in court. But Larson, drawing on his experience on the bench, stated that when judges subjectively perceived someone to be a threat to the community, they would set bail “in the guise of concern over the defendant showing up in court.” Larson is admitting that judges regularly violated the statutory purpose of bail in New York.

11-07-2022 New York
Nassau County Exec Lies About Bail Reform Again

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman – whose the county was named safest in the United States twice since bail reform took hold – and his allies once again peddled misleading statistics in a politicized attempt to connect bail reform with increased arrest numbers in their community.

Fact Check: False

The Truth Read more

The very report Blakeman commissioned to try to undermine bail reform, actually proved the opposite: as multiple outlets confirmed, rearrest rates have actually declined since bail reform. And Blakeman's statistics actually point to the ongoing success of bail reform in Nassau County. According to the report, fewer than 10 percent of people in Nassau County were rearrested for any offense – which is half the statewide rearrest rate for any alleged offense.

11-03-2022 New York
NY Post Wages Disinformation Campaign About Bail Reform

The Post is weaponizing the tragic murder of a Black Erie County woman to argue for mass pretrial detention for thousands more Black people. In so doing, the Post is using its “news” department to scare New Yorkers into voting for a gubernatorial candidate who voted to overturn the 2020 election as Congressman and has promised to rollback a host of important criminal legal reforms in New York.

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Truth Read more

The grief and pain that family, friends and community members feel is real and unimaginable. But the Post chose to exploit that pain for political points, using the victim's mother to tie the case to bail reform, when the reality is much more complicated.

11-01-2022 New York
Schenectady Police Chief, Local Politicians Fearmonger About Bail Reform

Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford, along with several local politicians, fearmongered and misled the public about bail reform in an article in the Daily Gazette. Clifford falsely claimed that bail reform is connected to increases in crime, misrepresented the law, advocated for racist and opaque pretrial detention standards and lied about rearrests.

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Truth Read more

First, years of research is conclusive and draws no connection between any increases in crime and bail reform. Next, the claim that bail reform changed law enforcement’s ability to detain people is misleading at best. Bail reform only affected some misdemeanors and low-level felonies. Judges can and do continue to set bail for people charged with violent felonies. Finally, we know that rearrests for violent felonies are exceptionally rare since bail reform went into effect.

See All

The Latest

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."

Times-Union: One more time —the problem isn't bail reform

"It’s downright insulting how gullible some politicians seem to think New Yorkers are. Case in point: blaming bail reform for crimes that have nothing to do with it"

Cash bond reforms will make Illinois more fair

"Instead of prioritizing safety and using data to inform our pretrial policies, we have allowed fear to drive our policies and created a biased system that benefits those with financial means."

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