The New York Daily News published a front-page article about a homeless man with a long arrest history who was arrested on February 18 for allegedly damaging MetroCard machines. The man was released under supervision pending trial, which police attribute to bail reform. In this case, the judge used discretion that was afforded to him under the law and now the man can be referred for treatment that may actually address the underlying causes of his alleged behavior. This option was available before bail reform, as well.
A fellow resident in the homeless shelter where this man currently resides told the reporter that he has mental illness. The article reports that he has more than 60 prior arrests, suggesting that opportunities for more effective interventions, such as mental or behavioral health services, were missed. Also, the behavior alleged in the article -- jamming MetroCard machines and selling swipes -- is a crime of poverty, and money bail and pre-trial detention only worsen poverty. (One way to stop this particular offense while alleviating the hardship of poverty is making public transit free, though this is no substitute for addressing the deeper financial needs of people selling swipes.)