Bail reform in New York has been an extraordinary success for public health and safety. Despite all this, a calculated misinformation campaign threatens our state's critical progress.

Since the passage of historic bail reform in 2019, nearly 100,000 New Yorkers were no longer faced with the prospect of life-threatening bail and jail, and thousands were free to fight their case who otherwise would not have been. Home with families. In jobs. Going to school. With a roof over their heads. Just like the wealthy. NY taxpayers have saved hundreds of millions. And the data is clear: Bail reform has led to no increase in crime. Yet opponents of justice are waging a misinformation campaign to confuse and scare New Yorkers into ending bail and other successful reforms that have increased safety inside and out of jails. We are committed to sharing the truth. 

A DIVERSE MOVEMENT FOR FAIRNESS, SAFETY, & JUSTICE.

The 2019 bail reform law was carefully written after years of conversation between a diverse coalition that included, among other groups, law enforcement, victim advocates, and the families of those who have lost loved ones to pretrial incarceration. It was grounded in evidence-based practices that have been proven to reduce unnecessary pretrial jailing and keep communities safe. 

Read the data

New York Bail Reform Explained

With notable exceptions, the bail reform law requires courts to release most people charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies to await their court dates. The law addressed a long-standing problem where many people were held in jail pretrial simply because they could not afford their freedom.

Judges still retain wide discretion to set bail for people who are charged with a violent felony, persistently skip court dates, violate a protective order, are rearrested on a second felony, are charged twice (or more) with any alleged offense involving harm to a person or property, or are on parole or probation charged with felonies.

Bail fact Sheet

Fact: Nearly all people who are at liberty pre-trial are not rearrested at all, let alone found guilty for allegations involving violence or gun charges

New York City’s recent spike in shootings and murders is tragic and must be taken seriously. That means following the facts, and all available data confirm that bail reform is not linked to this increase and is certainly not a major driver of it.


98,000

Nearly 100,000 people have been spared any chance of the trauma, destabilization, and deadly conditions of pre-trial incarceration.

50%

Under bail reform, 50% less people charged with lower-level offenses were jailed.

1%

Under bail reform, less than 1% of all those released were rearrested for a violent felony.

.5%

Less than half of one percent released were rearrested for a gun offense.

Nearly 100,000 people have been spared any chance of the trauma, destabilization, and deadly conditions of pre-trial incarceration.

Under bail reform, 50% less people charged with lower-level offenses were jailed.

Under bail reform, less than 1% of all those released were rearrested for a violent felony.

Less than half of one percent released were rearrested for a gun offense.

The Briefing:

The honest truth about bail reform written by criminal justice experts

09-26-2020 New York
Sinclair Media/CBS 6 Amplifies Police and Prosecutor Lies on Bail Reform

Law Enforcement Supporting Republican State Legislators Renew Baseless Fear-Mongering Ahead of Election

Fact Check: False

The Latest Read more

As with the prior bail statute, judges have discretion to set bail or not and those who can afford it may pay bail and secure their release.

03-10-2020 New York
PBA President Pat Lynch

PBA President Pat Lynch Smears Reform in Radio Ad: Spreading disinformation in an attempt to tie a man’s alleged crimes to criminal justice reform

Fact Check: Lies/Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

Reform had no impact on these cases.

03-08-2020 New York
CBS Albany

CBS Albany Cites Police Chief in Spreading Disinformation

Fact Check: Misleading & Lies

The Latest Read more

CBS Albany falsely attributes a person’s release to bail reform and repeats fearmongering list from police to smear new discovery reform

03-06-2020 New York
NYPD & Mayor Bill de Blasio

NYPD Continues Attempt to Falsely Connect Criminal Justice Reform to Crime, Mayor Tells Public Defenders Questioning Police Data to be "Ashamed"

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

Statistics have simply not borne out the doomsday predictions that pro-police groups have been making.

02-28-2020 New York
New York Daily News

Man accused of breaking MetroCard machines released pre-trial under supervision.

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

“We have to stop blaming bail reform for failures of our social safety net and we must recognize the previous approach failed in much more traumatic ways.”

02-28-2020 New York
Cortland Voice

Correction: "Wagner was released to alternatives to incarceration. The bail reform laws enacted Jan. 1 did not affect the purview of the Judge regarding his bail status."

Fact Check: Corrected

The Latest Read more

Rape charges and all sex offenses, including misdemeanor sex offenses, remain eligible for money bail and pre-trial jailing under the new laws.

02-20-2020 New York
Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco

"Library security guard's accused killer was free without bail on attempted rape charge"

Fact Check: Lies

The Latest Read more

It is simply inaccurate to state that bail reform was the reason for this person’s release. Judges had discretion to detain.

02-20-2020 New York
Yates County DA, Todd Casella

"District Attorney blames Bail Reform for man's overdose death."

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

A prosecutor exploits a death to smear bail reform by suggesting, wrongly, that jail was the best place for someone struggling with substance use disorder.

02-19-2020 New York
Times Union

Bail Reform Blamed for Teenagers' Release

Fact Check: False

The Latest Read more

The bail statute does not apply post-conviction. This incident is in no way connected to bail reform.

02-16-2020 New York
New York Post

"Brooklyn judge uses forgotten state law to bypass bail reform"

Fact Check: False

The Latest Read more

The law wasn't "forgotten." The law that the Judge cited is actually a key provision of the new bail reform law.

02-14-2020 New York
Nassau County Legislature

Nassau Legislators: "New York State’s controversial bail reform is putting public safety at risk"

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

Outlier cases are being exploited by GOP officials to undermine bail reform as part of a continuing disinformation campaign.

02-13-2020 New York
NY Daily News

"Bail Reform Blamed for Man's Lengthy Record"

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

Rikers Doctor: "We have to stop blaming bail reform for failures of our social safety net and we must recognize the previous approach failed in much more traumatic ways."

02-12-2020 New York
NY Senate Democrats

"After Pressure Campaign From Law Enforcement, NY State Politicians Say They Will Change Bail Reforms"

Fact Check: Capitulation

The Latest Read more

The New York State Senate is hoping to jail its way out of mass incarceration.

02-11-2020 New York
Senator Jim Tedesco

"Senator Tedesco Raises Bail Reform Concerns Over Alleged Repeat Offender"

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

A robbery that results in any kind of physical injury can be charged as Robbery in the Second Degree, which is a Class C violent felony and bail-eligible offense.

02-11-2020 New York
Mayor Bill de Blasio

"Mayor Blames Bail Reform for NYPD Statistics"

Fact Check: Misleading

The Latest Read more

The Mayor's statements are all unsupported by the available numbers.

02-06-2020 New York
NBC New York

"Bail Reform Law to Blame for Death of Man Set to Testify in MS-13 Case"

Fact Check: Lies

The Latest Read more

Police Commissioner acknowledge “no direct link” between criminal justice reform and this case. NBC New York story remains uncorrected.

02-05-2020 New York
Elmira Star Gazette

"Man released judge after his arraignment, per the new bail reform laws."

Fact Check: Lies

The Latest Read more

Publicly available information indicates that man was charged with Assault in the Second Degree, which is still eligible for jail.

02-05-2020 New York
NYPD Commissioner Shea

"NYPD commissioner blames bail law for rise in crime"

Fact Check: Lies

The Latest Read more

It is irresponsible, dishonest, and opportunistic to claim causation between bail reform and selective short-term fluctuations in crime stats.

02-05-2020 New York
Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder

"Attempted to falsely connect a man’s tragic death to criminal justice reform."

Fact Check: Lies

The Latest Read more

The tragic death of Mr. Maldonado is, unequivocally, not the result of the new discovery laws.

02-03-2020 New York
Times Union

"Cohoes judge issues order challenging state's bail reform law"

Fact Check: Incomplete

The Latest Read more

Ordering jail for unpaid tickets would leave people less able to pay their balance upon release.

02-02-2020 New York
NY Daily News

"Set free to rape: Suspect busted in train station sex assault was freed through state’s new bail reform laws"

Fact Check: False

The Latest Read more

The man was was never actually charged with rape or any other sex offense.

02-01-2020 New York
Newsday

"Bail reform in spotlight in case of man indicted in Nassau burglaries"

Fact Check: Clarification Needed

The Latest Read more

Judge: “The spirit of the statute is designed so that people are not warehoused in jail pending a date for trial.”

01-30-2020 New York
NY Post

"Suspects accused of running $7M fentanyl ring released without bail"

Fact Check: Misleading

The Latest Read more

Anyone who could buy their freedom prior to January 1 would have been free to fight their charges under these same circumstances.

01-29-2020 New York
NY Post Editorial Board

"The feds can’t save New York from the insane ‘no-bail’ law"

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

Crime Victim: “I’ve been dismayed to watch politicians exploit what happened, to use it against bail reform.”

01-28-2020 New York
WNBG: Binghampton

"Two arrested after drug bust, one released on bail reform law"

Fact Check: Misleading

The Latest Read more

The coverage provides no basis for the assertion that Ms. Sheftall would have been incarcerated for non-violent charges prior to January 1.

01-28-2020 New York
Judge David McAndrews

"Long Island judge ignores bail law, refuses release of ‘menace to society’"

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

A Long Island judge intentionally broke the law to jail a man because “I don’t want you walking around my neighborhood."

01-28-2020 New York
New York Post

"Tiffany Harris charged with federal hate crimes in anti-Semitic attacks"

Fact Check: Misleading

The Latest Read more

The decision to issue and unseal the warrant for her arrest on federal charges is a publicity stunt

01-25-2020 New York
New York Post

"NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea blames bail reform for 2020 crime spike"

Fact Check: Lies

The Latest Read more

Commissioner Shea’s comments are contradicted by the NYPD’s own data.

01-24-2020 New York
ABC 7: New York

"Woman charged with murder previously released without bail according to the state's new bail reform laws"

Fact Check: Lies

The Latest Read more

A judge could have set bail and jailed the woman according to the new bail laws, but chose not to.

01-19-2020 New York
Richard Donoghue, United States Attorney

"No sound, rational and fair criminal justice system requires pretrial release of those who demonstrate such determination to continuously commit serious crimes."

Fact Check: Lies

The Latest Read more

New York bail reform provides judges discretion to set bail in cases where, as here, an individual is rearrested on a felony while released.

01-17-2020 New York
Fox News 5: Orange County

"Violent assault in upstate NY brings new bail reform law into question"

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

People charged with misdemeanor domestic violence have long been released pre-trial precisely because stakeholders tend to agree that jail does not address the underlying problems.

01-12-2020 New York
Mid-Hudson News: Ulster

"Bail ‘reform’ laws lead to release of nine charged with serious crimes in Ulster County"

Fact Check: Misleading

The Latest Read more

Several of the cases highlighted for this article involve drug possession and only one case out of nine involves physical harm to a person, who overdosed after a drug sale.

01-09-2020 New York
Post-Standard: Syracuse

"NY bail reform sets free Syracuse Navy vet accused of shooting, killing girlfriend."

Fact Check: Lies

The Latest Read more

Bail could not have prevented this terrible tragedy. It is illegal to use bail as punishment before a fair trial.

See All

Fact: Under bail reform, judges can still and do set bail on cases alleging violence.

Bail reform does not allow for cash bail or remand in cases involving most misdemeanors and non-violent felonies – but only in those cases, and only under certain circumstances. The law also increases the availability of alternatives to incarceration (such as non-jail supervision and electronic monitoring) for individuals accused of violent felonies. Significant judicial discretion, however, remains in the system after bail reform.

Judges still retain discretion to set bail when a person is charged with an offense classified as "violent," for certain sexual offense misdemeanors, for willful failure to return to court, and in some cases involving otherwise bail-ineligible charges. Still, when judges do decide to release people charged with violent offenses, those individuals are the very least likely to be rearrested for a violent felony. 

Fact: More pretrial freedom means more–not less– public safety.

Pretrial jailing undermines the health of individuals, families, and entire neighborhoods. Incarceration is characterized by the very same drivers of violence: shame, isolation, economic deprivation, trauma, and violence itself.  Those who go into jail with challenges — lack of resources, substance use, mental health concerns, joblessness, unstable housing, and/or trauma — return to their communities with these challenges compounded by the destabilizing and harmful effects of incarceration. Others return with entirely new challenges as a result of the harm they endured.

On "Revolving Door Justice"

"A long-overdue fix meant to keep people from being locked up simply for being poor. New York needs to give bail reform a chance to succeed."

Fact: Bail is a costly, dangerous injustice.

The injustice of bail in New York

Prior to bail reform, thousands of people were kept jailed in counties across New York State, while awaiting trial. This practice persisted despite the incredible cost of incarceration and the fact that the majority of arrests were for misdemeanors.

Use this map to explore the statistics of pre-trial detention by county.

Label County

Value X

Label A: Value A
Label F: Value F
Label M: Value M

Label Y Value Y

Label C:
Value C per day, per person

Data courtesy of Vera Institute for Justice

The Latest

Times Union Editorial Board: Editorial: Get facts before revising bail reforms

"From the start of the debate over criminal justice reform in New York, some people were simply against any substantive change. And with little more evidence than they had two years ago, they continue to oppose it."

Confusion continues around bail reform data: Understanding how ‘qualifying offenses’ play a role

“Data shows that a small percentage of people who qualify for a bailable offense commit a second crime.”

Bail reform success story

“The Times Union’s coverage of new data on New York’s bail reforms continues a multi-year trend of media stories credulously parroting police union talking points. But while the story emphasizes a relatively small percentage of re-arrests for alleged violent crime, the numbers themselves reveal a bail reform success story.”

Stewart-Cousins defends bail changes at event on gun violence

"State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins defended the state's bail changes during an event on gun violence this week with Gov. Kathy Hochul."

Reject calls to revoke bail reform

“During the current state legislative session, several prosecutors and law enforcement officials will pressure senators and Assembly members to roll back bail reform measures passed in 2019. Those changes in law were intended to root out systemic flaws that contributed to racial disparities among those incarcerated prior to trial.”

Chairs of Assembly Health Committee: "Prisons Are “A Pot of Bubbling Contagion”

"In light of the spread of COVID-19, a coalition of civil rights leaders and medical professionals are urging lawmakers in Albany to do two things: reject any rollbacks to bail reform and decrease the prison population around the state immediately."

Bail reform fearmongering shouldn't turn NY's Jewish communities again their allies.

Jewish communities have a wide range of options to stop antisemitic violence without relying on a criminal legal system that harms communities of color.

NYC’s public defenders claim NYPD may be faking spike in crime

A decrease in the number of criminal cases city prosecutors are pursuing suggests that the crime spike recently reported by the NYPD could be a ruse to incite fear over criminal justice reforms.

Report: Bail reform rollback would harm black New Yorkers

Black New Yorkers would be hurt most if the Legislature rolls back the state’s bail reform laws, a new study says.

Give the New Bail Reform Law Time to Work

"The campaign against the bail reforms seems less about public safety than power, designed to make clear that law enforcement remains an untouchable political force in New York politics."

Bail reform equalizes treatment of rich and poor

"The GOP uses lies and exaggeration to prey openly on public fear and appeal to prejudicial notions about who should and should not go to jail."

Bail Reform is about Safety and Well-Being

"Bail reform is a necessary, modest, and long overdue recognition of the harm perpetrated against tens of thousands of people jailed pretrial."

Police Chief Made Fiery Claim Over MS-13 Murder. Records Dispute It.

"The police commissioner identified NY’s new criminal justice policies as one of the causes. Court records show they had nothing to do with it."

Don't Let Fearmongering Drive Bail Policy

"The NYPD Commissioner has asserted “we’re seeing significant spikes in crime.” But his selective use of shortrun statistics doesn’t support this statement."

Despite dire-sounding headlines, bail reforms are having a positive impact on the people they are meant to help

"90% of all arrests across the state are for misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. These are the people who are actually being impacted by bail reform."

Political extremists have found a home on this GOP-backed Facebook group

"Exposing an undercurrent of racism, Trumpian fear-mongering, anti-immigrant, and anti-woman rhetoric in the bail rollback movement."

Ending Cash Bail Reduces Crime and Ensures Justice

"Bail had allowed people to be locked up for months or years without ever being convicted of a crime."

Jewish Woman Who Says Tiffany Harris Assault her Says Attacker Needs Help, Not Bail

"I've been dismayed to watch politicians exploit what happened against bail reform. I want her to get treatment. Not money bail."

When a Sheriff's Jail is Emptied

"Sheriffs could instead champion such reform to help people stay in their communities, and stop people from remaining incarcerated because they are too poor to pay."

Police and Sheriff's Departments Join Media Campaign Against Bail Reform

"The media shouldn’t treat police chiefs and sheriff’s departments as neutral parties on the subject of bail reform."

Bail reform’s likely impact? Evidence from an upstate county

"What we know now suggests that bail reform can have its desired effect without compromising public safety."

Don't let fear mongering undo vital justice reforms

"For decades, access to justice — including the presumption of innocence — depended on wealth."

Bail reform is already working

"New York bail reform is no more than a continuation of the measured, steady decline in those detained pretrial that has, in turn, paralleled a significant drop in crime rates."

Don't Retreat on Bail Fix

"The state should not delay justice for the sake of political agendas."

New York Politicians Are Using Anti-Semitic Attacks to Scare People About Bail Reform

"The stories you’re seeing in local media are not representative of what really goes on in the system."

Don't be scared of fearmongering over bail reform

"Let’s be clear: Despite the fearmongering, this reform is necessary."

Don't delay bail reform

"Change is frequently stressful and law enforcement is no less susceptible to that than anyone else. But this change has been well considered & implemented elsewhere."

Reforms make justice system fairer to New York's poor

"All of the screaming emanating from the recent plague of news conferences is simply sound and fury by district attorneys and police."

Bail reform supporters address “misconceptions” about changes coming January 1

The Legislative Gazette

Tabloid Fuels Collective Anxiety Attack Over Bail Ban

"The uproar over the one-time Mets tickets giveaway also overlooks how successful New York’s efforts to cut back on cash bail have been over the past decade."

A Sad Last Gasp Against Criminal Justice Reform

"Governor Cuomo, legislative leaders and Mayor Bill de Blasio, all of whom supported the reforms, should stand proudly behind them."

Criminal justice reform activists, crime victims say critics are ‘fear-mongering’

SHARE REAL BAIL STORIES

Right now, police, prosecutors, and other opponents of bail reform are cherrypicking sensational outlier cases to try to defeat New York's bail reform law. We hope to collect real stories from as many of the nearly 100,000 people who were free to fight their case from a position of liberty, and be with their families, keep their jobs and housing, and go to school.

SHARE REAL BAIL STORIES

REPORT MISLEADING MEDIA COVERAGE

The role of the media in shaping the conversation around bail reform cannot be underestimated, as this 2021 report detailed. Help us identify – and correct – misleading media coverage so that we can ensure that truth triumphs over fearmongering and falsehoods.

REPORT MISLEADING MEDIA COVERAGE

CONTACT New York LAWMAKERS

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SHARE REAL BAIL STORIES

STORY COLLECTION FORM FOR PUBLIC DEFENDERS

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 stories@justicenotfear.org.

PERSONAL INFORMATION OF PERSON SUBMITTING:

PROFESSIONAL INFORMATION:

CASE AND CLIENT INFORMATION:

Mandatory release

DAT

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Services Provided (Check One or More)

Anything Specific About the Client That Is Helpful to Know (Check One or More)

Collateral Consequences Avoided (Check One or More)

Appearances in Court

Case Outcome (If Closed)

Case Still Open?

Report Fear

PERSONAL INFORMATION OF PERSON SUBMITTING:

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Report Fear

Please share links to media that disseminates misinformation about the legal system, reform efforts, and/or the people directly impacted.

Report Truth

It is just as important to share truthful, reasoned sources on the same topic. Please share if you can.