Daily News Editorial Advocates For Racist, Opaque Pretrial Detention Standards

The New York Daily News Editorial Board fearmongered about bail reform in a recent editorial and advocated for racist and opaque standards to be applied to pretrial detention decisions in New York that have long been rejected by New Yorkers.

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Briefing

The New York Daily News Editorial Board fearmongered about bail reform in a recent editorial and advocated for racist and opaque standards to be applied to pretrial detention decisions in New York that have long been rejected by New Yorkers. 

The Editorial Board called for additional changes to bail reform laws, which have already been unnecessarily changed twice since 2020. The more recent changes, passed earlier in 2022, expanded the number of bail-eligible misdemeanor and non-violent felonies and required judges to weigh whether someone is accused of causing “serious harm” to another person.

"Dangerousness" has never been a standard for setting bail in New York

Though the ink is still fresh on the latest changes to bail reform, and years’ worth of data has so far been unanimous that bail reform has been extraordinarily successful and led to no increase in crime, the Daily News chose to advocate for more measures to limit the freedom of New Yorkers, including a “dangerousness” standard.  

“Dangerousness” has never been a standard for setting bail in New York, and the state definitively declined to adopt it in the 1970s – and for good reason. Allowing a judge’s (or algorithm’s) prediction of “dangerousness” to serve as a basis for holding someone in jail while they are presumed innocent has clearly yielded racist results based on data from jurisdictions that allow this practice

In recent weeks, a former New York Supreme Court judge admitted to making bail decisions on subjective impressions of dangerousness and not the statutory purpose of bail, which is to ensure a person’s return to court. Moreover, the dangerousness standard would make judicial decision-making opaque in a system that is meant to be transparent.

There is no connection between bail reform and any increases in crime

In making its argument, the Daily News lied about recidivism and relied on cherry-picked statistics that do not reflect the immense success of bail reform in New York: hundreds of thousands free, hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars saved, and no increase in crime. 

Editorial board counterparts across New York State know and have acknowledged what the Daily News  refuses to: there is categorically no correlation between bail reform and any increases in crime. Rearrests for alleged violent felonies in New York remain exceptionally rare after bail reform. And in New York City, a higher percentage of people accused of crimes have returned to court since bail reform than during a four-year period before the law went into effect. 

Meanwhile, nearly 200,000 New Yorkers who would have otherwise been unable to buy their freedom were able to spend time with their families, keep their jobs, and maintain their freedom while presumed legally innocent. Taxpayers were saved hundreds of millions of dollars that would have been otherwise spent on unnecessary mass pretrial incarceration.

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