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

11-08-2023 New York
Lawmaker's Plan To Reduce Car Thefts Another Example of Failed Carceral Mindset

A state senator has proposed a plan to incarcerate more people in a misguided attempt to reduce car thefts.

Fact Check: Misleading

The Truth Read more

There are already serious consequences for car theft, and Senator Jeremy Cooney’s overbroad bill fails to acknowledge the devastating implications of pretrial detention and the root causes of crime and instances of harm.

11-03-2023 Illinois
Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser Spreads Misinformation About Trespassing Cases

Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser told the Aurora Beacon about a woman with mental health issues who has been repeatedly trespassing at a home and claimed that there is nothing prosecutors can do to keep her away from the house other than for police to cite and release her.

Fact Check: FALSE

The Truth Read more

Trespass to Residence is a Class A misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony. There is no requirement that police cite and release people for those levels of charges. Even if she was being charged with a lower level version of trespass, police would have been able to arrest this individual during the initial incident had she presented a danger to others. After the initial citation was issued, police could have arrested her if she continued to engage in criminal behavior. Prosecutors would also be able to charge the person with violating the terms of their pretrial release, and a judge could hold them in custody for that violation.

10-17-2023 Illinois
Madison County State's Attorney Denies Ability to Set Conditions on Pretrial Release

"Under the new system, there's only one option: detention. Otherwise, the individual who is charged with potentially very serious crimes walks out the door without paying a dime." Madison County State's Attorney Tom Haine in the Edwardsville Intelligencer

Fact Check: False

The Truth Read more

The Pretrial Fairness Act eliminated money bond as a condition of release, but prosecutors can still ask for and judges can still order many other conditions of release.

10-12-2023 Illinois
Cook County Judge & Prosecutor Make False Claims About the Detention Net

In an article published by The Patch, aCook County prosecutor and a judge claimed that someone accused of strangulation cannot be denied release under the Pretrial Fairness Act. "It's compelled that the defendant be released," Cook County Judge Anthony Calabrese said.

Fact Check: FALSE

The Truth Read more

Under the Pretrial Fairness Act, people can be detained for safety reasons if they are accused of a felony that involves the threat of or infliction of great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement. Strangulation would meet this standard.

09-27-2023 New York
News Nation Falsely Ties Tragic Death To Bail Reform

A news story about the tragic death of a child in the Bronx falsely connected the incident to bail reform and suggested a range of failed solutions to address America's opioid crisis.

Fact Check: False

The Truth Read more

The case has nothing to do with bail reform, and reflects an archaic and flawed logic that more drug arrests mean more safety, when the facts show that tough-on-crime policies have only exacerbated our country’s challenges with drugs and substance use.

09-26-2023 Illinois
Alderman Lopez Stokes Fear Following Mugging in Bucktown

Alderman Lopez shared a video of someone being assaulted and robbed in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood and claimed that “nothing in this video is a detainable offense & no bail required.”

Fact Check: FALSE

The Truth Read more

The Pretrial Fairness Act permits courts to deny pretrial release to people accused of robbery on the basis of either community safety or evading prosecution.

09-20-2023 Illinois
Sheriff Dart Misleads the Public About Electronic Monitoring House Arrest Conditions

In an interview with WLS AM, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart called advocates “morons” who tell “unmitigated lie[s]” about his pretrial electronic monitoring program: “Some of these morons…spin this nonsense about home monitoring [that] a poor person can't go to his job—that's an unmitigated lie.”

Fact Check: FALSE

The Truth Read more

Before the Pretrial Fairness Act, people on pretrial electronic monitoring needed the Sheriff or a judge to approve their “movement” to leave their homes for any amount of time. If a person on electronic monitoring wanted to go somewhere, they had to get documentation and share it with the Sheriff’s Office three days in advance. This process took a notoriously long time, and in many instances, people were arbitrarily denied movement and not given permission to leave their home. In addition, many appointments do not regularly provide the written notices required by the Sheriff’s Office, making it impossible for people to provide documentation.

09-20-2023 Illinois
Sheriff Dart Spreads Misinformation about the Pretrial Fairness Act’s Electronic Monitoring Provisions

In an interview with WLS AM, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart claimed that because of the Pretrial Fairness Act, “two days a week, I have to shut everyone's [electronic monitoring] device off.”

Fact Check: FALSE

The Truth Read more

The Pretrial Fairness Act guarantees people incarcerated in their homes on electronic monitoring the ability to perform essential tasks such as grocery shopping and laundry, but there is nothing in the law that requires Sheriff Dart to “shut everyone's device off”—nor does he. The Cook County Sheriff’s Office uses GPS devices to track movement and the tracking remains on during essential movement, constantly tracking and recording people’s locations. This statement by Sheriff Dart is intentionally misleading to the public: in spring 2022, WBEZ issued a correction after Sheriff Dart made similar false statements implying that people on electronic monitoring were not monitored during essential movement.

09-20-2023 Illinois
Sen. Bryant Misleads About Use of Bond Money

“It’s absolutely not fair to the victims of crime,” Sen. Terri Bryant said. “From restitution payments to victims services, bonds and fees often contribute to vital services to help victims recover from their trauma.”

Fact Check: FALSE

The Truth Read more

The vast majority of bond payments are used to pay fees and fines that support government functions. A 2022 report by the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts and the Civic Federation found that the 95 Illinois counties that provided data collected a total of $83.1 million in bond payments in 2021. Of that, only $2.5 million—just 3%—went to restitution payments.

09-14-2023 New York
Law Enforcement, Elected Officials Criticize Due Process

Law enforcement and elected officials bemoaned the due process afforded by New York’s criminal justice system after a judge opted not to set bail in a case where a man was charged with assaulting a police officer in Yonkers.

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Truth Read more

Pro-carceral voices do not care about the statutory purpose of bail, instead hoping for a world where anyone charged with a crime is not afforded due process and is instead “punished” immediately with pretrial detention. The case out of Yonkers presents a compelling example of the bail system in New York working as intended.

09-14-2023 Illinois
Rock Island State's Attorney Gives Misleading Information About the Pretrial Fairness Act

“However, the other side of that is, there are some people that, regardless of how much money they have or don’t have are violent offenders. They have committed crimes. ... And I think that that is what concerns me the most, that those individuals will be released and be allowed to continue to commit crimes.” Rock Island State’s Attorney Dora Villarreal

Fact Check: False

The Truth Read more

The presumption of innocence is a hallmark of America’s criminal legal system. Everyone deserves to be treated as innocent while they are awaiting trial. While the Pretrial Fairness Act does eliminate the use of money bond as a means to detain someone and mandates that most arrested individuals are given a chance to succeed on pretrial release, it does not eliminate the court’s ability to jail someone awaiting trial.

09-14-2023 Illinois
Winnebago State's Attorney J. Hanley Spreads Misinformation About Speedy Trial Timeline

“State’s Attorney Hanley's main concern comes with the speedy trial provision potentially letting people with the highest charges walk out of jail before their trial date.”

Fact Check: FALSE

The Truth Read more

The Pretrial Fairness Act did not change the amount of time prosecutors have to prepare a case. For decades, the court has had 90 days for trial before a person in custody awaiting trial is entitled to release. In reality, it is rare for a serious case to go to trial in that timeframe. The Pretrial Fairness Act actually increased flexibility on this deadline, and now state can receive deadline extensions based on certain situations. The defense also may request extensions.

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The Latest

Sun-Times: Eliminating cash bail puts Illinois firmly on road of criminal justice reform

"But bottom-line, it simply isn’t fair for people charged with low-level and nonviolent crimes to bide their time in jail while they await trial solely because they don’t have the cash more privileged suspects can withdraw within minutes."

Chicago Tribune: The Pretrial Fairness Act is constitutional. It’s time for justice to prevail.

"Wealth-based jailing has been brought up in our legislature twice, effectively placed on the ballot and heard by the courts. It is time to roll up our sleeves and see this historic reform through. Continuing to attempt to sabotage the law’s implementation will not only ignore the will of Illinoisans, but it will also put public safety at risk."

Times-Union: No, bail isn't about respect

"It is not the purpose of bail to serve as a symbol of our society's appreciation for the dangerous work that law enforcement professionals do. Our laws express that appreciation quite clearly already, providing stronger charges and longer sentences for crimes committed against them. But bail that for most people would amount to pretrial incarceration? That's not what our bail laws are meant to do."

Justice Quarterly: Bail reform law in New York had negligible effect on increases in crime

"The study found that rates of murder, larceny, and motor vehicle theft rose after the bail reform, but the increase may have been due to the pandemic instead of bail reform. The authors controlled for the impact of the pandemic by constructing a comparison group of other states also affected by the pandemic but without bail reform in the same period. After comparing New York State with the comparison group, the study found that the rate of increase in crimes in New York State was insignificant."

Gotham Gazette: New York Can't Put The Blindfold Back On

"Fulfilling the promise of a fairer criminal legal system requires firm commitment to the 2019 landmark law — not a retreat from it that will absolve prosecutors of their obligations and have devastating consequences for people awaiting trial. We urge state legislators to resist the governor’s and prosecutors’ attempt to weaken our discovery laws. Justice depends on it."

City & State: A (not so) brief guide to New York’s bail reform evolution

"The idea that people should be released before trial and only locked up as punishment after they have been convicted of a crime is actually a fundamental aspect of the American justice system. Holding people in pretrial detention has traditionally been the exception, not the rule."

The Appeal: Kathy Hochul's ‘Pro-Suffering’ Campaign Against Bail Reform

"Governor Hochul and those who support her policies on policing and pretrial justice are now campaigning to ensure that more people suffer horrific deaths in jail before any determination of guilt, and that cops remain empowered to terrorize with impunity."

Human Rights Watch director: Don’t undermine New York State’s reform of bail

"If lawmakers are serious about reducing crime, they should continue their efforts to reduce pretrial jailing, end excessive sentencing, and make investments in communities that address needs. The safest communities have good schools, well paid jobs, stable housing, access to quality health care, including mental health care, drug treatment, and more. This is where policymakers should be directing their focus."

City & State New York: More people will die at Rikers if Hochul rolls back bail reform

"We live in communities across the city and, like our neighbors, we have the right to be safe in our own homes, on the sidewalk, in subway stations – everywhere. New York’s jails deprived our loved ones of this right to safety – and make us all less safe. They bring about trauma and despair, not growth and healing. We’ve seen it firsthand. "

Brooklyn Eagle: Advocates: 'We cannot follow Gov. Hochul down the path of mass jailing, mass inequality'

"The coalitions are collectively fighting for a safer, healthier, and more just New York, urging lawmakers to make significant investments and policy changes to enhance community safety rather than reinforcing a system that perpetuates poverty, inequality, and despair, which contribute to violence and insecurity."

City & State New York: Safety means investments, not oppression

"A politicized focus on bail reform distracts from real solutions for community safety. New York must take an evidence-based approach to address the root causes of crime by investing in safe and affordable housing, mental health services, employment opportunities, and a robust and inclusive safety net."

LoHud: Rolling back bail reform won't solve NY's problems with crime. Here's why

"Despite its proven benefits, bail reform continues to be relentlessly attacked. Hochul first gave in to political attacks by successfully rolling back the law last year, and now she’s pushing for changes that could make things even worse than they were before the 2019 law was passed."

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