Since the passage of historic bail reform in 2019, nearly 200,000 more New Yorkers have been free to fight their case while presumed innocent. Home with their families. In their jobs. Going to school. With a roof over their heads. Just like the wealthy. New York taxpayers have saved hundreds of millions. And the data is clear: Bail reform has led to no increase in crime. Yet reform opponents are waging a misinformation campaign to confuse and scare New York elected leaders into ending bail reform and other successful reforms that have increased safety. We are committed to sharing the truth.

 

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.

THE CURRENT STATUS OF REFORM

This legislative session, Governor Kathy Hochul – despite acknowledging that bail reform had no connection to any increase in crime – sought to make last-minute roll backs to the laws in the state budget. Some lawmakers held firm against rollbacks, but the result of budget negotiations was a partial implementation of Hochul’s plan. While some of the most regressive proposals were not passed, many more people will be subjected to the threat of pretrial detention due to these rollbacks, and the fight to prevent further erosion of New York’s pretrial reforms continues.

"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."

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.


183,000

Nearly 200,000 people have been spared any chance of the trauma, destabilization, and deadly conditions of pre-trial incarceration.

$658M

Taxpayer dollars saved annually that can support community investments, not punishment.

97.2%

Over 97% of those released were NOT rearrested for a violent felony.

99%

Nearly all released to fight their case while free were NOT rearrested for a charge involving a gun.

Nearly 200,000 people have been spared any chance of the trauma, destabilization, and deadly conditions of pre-trial incarceration.

Taxpayer dollars saved annually that can support community investments, not punishment.

Over 97% of those released were NOT rearrested for a violent felony.

Nearly all released to fight their case while free were NOT rearrested for a charge involving a gun.

Dear Journalists: A Guide for Accurate Reporting

Despite the facts and data, there is an ongoing narrative to undermine pretrial reform, fueled in large part by misinformation about the law and its impact.The media has long played a role in shaping public opinion around criminal justice issues, more specifically pretrial reforms. Since the passage of bail reform, patterns in reporting about pretrial freedom have emerged. This resource seeks to support reporters in avoiding these common pitfalls and remaining neutral in their coverage:

Bail Reform Media Guide

The Briefing:

The honest truth about bail reform written by criminal justice experts

08-03-2022 New York
New York Post Uses Unverified Police Data to Fearmonger

The New York Post fearmongered about repeat offenses and bail reform while parroting unverified NYPD to support their claims. Actual data shows that bail reform has succeeded in reducing the injustice of pretrial incarceration and upholding public safety.

Fact Check: Fearmongering, False, Exploitative

The Latest Read more

Police data is unsubstantiated. Actual data shows that bail reform works.

07-26-2022 New York
Lee Zeldin Uses Campaign Rally Attack to Further False Agenda

GOP gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin has used an attack against him at a campaign event to lie to New Yorkers, falsely blaming the release of the man who attacked him on bail reform. Facts that emerged after the incident suggest otherwise: the Monroe County District Attorney, Sandra Doorley, was uncharacteristically lenient and chose not to charge a bail-eligible offense.

Fact Check: Fearmongering, False, Lies, Corruption

The Latest Read more

The person in question was released because the Monroe County District Attorney, under questionable circumstances, chose not to charge a bail-eligible offense.

07-08-2022 New York
Commissioner Sewell Scapegoats Bail Reform for Increases in Certain Crimes

Last week, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell credited the Adams administration with the reported decrease in murders and shooting incidents, but said bail reform was to blame for rearrests of people charged with crimes. This is a baseless claim that represents a continuation of the same old tactics from the NYPD.

Fact Check: False, Fearmongering, Misleading

The Latest Read more

There is no evidence that rearrests are tied to modest pretrial reform.

06-20-2022 New York
Fox News Repeats Lies from Nassau County Executive Falsely Tying Police Injury to Bail Reform

A Fox News story repeated false claims by Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, who spread misinformation by claiming that a man accused of injuring a police officer during a motor vehicle theft in 2020 was free because of bail reform.

Fact Check: False, Fearmongering, Misleading

The Latest Read more

The man was not free because of bail reform, and it is a lie to suggest otherwise.

06-15-2022 New York
New York City Council Member James Gennaro Spreads Lies About Bail Reform, Misrepresents Impact to Back False Claims

New York City Council Member James Gennaro spread misinformation and fearmongered about bail, discovery, and other modest criminal legal reforms. His claims were amplified by news outlets including QNS.

Fact Check: False, Fearmongering, Misleading

The Latest Read more

“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.

06-09-2022 New York
The New York Post Again Falsely Blames Bail Reform for Unrelated Pretrial Release

The New York Post falsely claimed that a man was freed because of pretrial reforms.

Fact Check: False, Fearmongering, Misleading

The Latest Read more

No pre-trial reforms impacted this case in any way.

06-06-2022 New York
Mayor Eric Adams Lies About Impacts of Modest Reforms, Calls for Racist So-Called “Dangerousness” Standard Despite Data

Mayor Adams falsely claimed that people on their ninth arrest and those accused of shootings and other violent felony offenses are not having bail set because of modest pre-trial reforms.

Fact Check: False, Fearmongering, Misleading

The Latest Read more

Pre-trial reform has had no impact on these types of cases.

05-18-2022 New York
Rep. Tom Suozzi Attempts to Connect Buffalo Shooting to Bail Reform

Gubernatorial candidate Rep. Tom Suozzi falsely claimed that New York’s bail reform laws were connected to the mass shooting in Buffalo by a white supremacist.

Fact Check: Fearmongering, False

The Latest Read more

The Buffalo shooter had no prior convictions and was not out on bail.

05-11-2022 New York
Mayor Adams Falsely Blames Bronx Shooting on Bail Reform

Mayor Eric Adams falsely blamed a recent shooting on bail reform when the person involved was, according to police, awaiting sentencing after having pled guilty. Anything that happens after trial or a plea has been taken has no connection to bail whatsoever.

Fact Check: False, Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

The shooting that took place in the Bronx on Tuesday night has no connection to pretrial freedom. Anything that happens after trial or a plea has been taken has no connection to bail whatsoever.

05-10-2022 New York
Monroe County Sheriff Lies About Bail Reform

The Monroe County Sheriff attempted to tie bail reform to a recent rise in shootings without supportive data. This increase is occurring in jurisdictions across the country and is not tied to bail reform.

Fact Check: False, Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

Just yesterday, the C.D.C issued a report on surging nation-wide gun deaths in the pandemic’s first year. This increase is occurring in jurisdictions across the country and is not tied to bail reform.

03-17-2022 New York
Despite Facts, Gov. Hochul Caves to Fearmongering on Bail

Gov. Hochul’s proposal to roll back modest reforms threatens hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. It is based on a concerted disinformation campaign by anti-reform officials and lobbyists.

Fact Check: Fearmongering, False

The Latest Read more

All New Yorkers deserve safety, and the safest communities have the greatest resources—not the highest incarceration rates.

03-15-2022 New York
Manhattan Institute Article Spreads Misinformation about New York Reforms

This piece from the Manhattan Institute cites multiple clearly discredited stories in support of the false proposition that modest reforms in New York are to blame for causing widespread harm in New York City.

Fact Check: Fearmongering, False

The Latest Read more

Among much else, this piece relies on the NYPD's account of the case of a Bronx teenager that was fully discredited by video footage.

03-15-2022 New York
NYPD Commissioner Lies About Bail Reform, Calls for Racist “Dangerousness” Standard

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell has joined calls to roll back bail reform, falsely claiming that judges are legally prohibited from ever setting bail.

Fact Check: Fearmongering, False

The Latest Read more

The law, C.P.L. § 510.10, defines bail-eligible charges. These include felonies classified as violent, certain misdemeanors including sexual offenses, any charge against a person on parole or probation, and certain rearrests for otherwise non-bail-eligible charges.

03-08-2022 New York
Damaging NYPD Lies in Prominent Case of Teenager Uncovered

The NYPD claimed that a teenager shot a police officer and then walked free because of lax bail laws was recently debunked in the courtroom.

Fact Check: Fearmongering, False

The Latest Read more

Judge Naita Semaj determined that NYPD Officer Taulant Gjonbalaj and his colleagues lied in this case, finding the “incredible…self serving” police testimony “had no value.” Video fully discredited the police account.

03-07-2022 New York
Syracuse Police Falsely Tie a Teen’s Rearrest to Bail Reform

The Syracuse Police Department falsely claimed that a teen's rearrest on gun charges was tied to bail. WAER reprinted these claims without any correction or further information.

Fact Check: Fearmongering, False

The Latest Read more

Possessing a firearm is a bail-eligible offense. This case was in no way related to bail reform.

03-02-2022 New York
Mayor Adams and NY Post Wrongly Blame Bail Reform for Release of Man in Subway Incident

The New York Post falsely claimed that the man’s release in a highly-publicized Bronx case was due to bail reform. In truth, just as prior to reform, this person's release was left to the discretion of the judge.

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

It is a fallacy and distraction from discussions about advancing public safety to blame this upsetting occurrence on bail reform.

02-25-2022 New York
Westchester County Officials Debunked by Their Own Data

Multiple officials in Westchester County are fearmongering about rising crime and falsely tying a non-existent county crimewave to discovery and bail reform.

Fact Check: Fearmongering, False, Lies, Data

The Latest Read more

As the largest city in Westchester County, Yonkers is home to more than 20% of the total county population. And according to the numbers released by the County, crime in Westchester is way down.

02-24-2022 New York
Long Island Man’s Release Falsely Blamed on Bail Reform

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder falsely blamed bail reform for a man’s freedom at the time of an alleged attempted burglary.

Fact Check: False, Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

Because the person accused of attempting to burglarize a nail salon was “released on bail” at the time of the incident, his prior charge was bail eligible and therefore release was not due to bail reform.

02-24-2022 New York
In Recent Resolution, Cayuga County Legislature Reveals Deep Misunderstanding of Reform

The authors of both the resolution and this article clearly misunderstand—or are misrepresenting—the previous language and intent of New York’s bail statute and discovery reforms.

Fact Check: Misleading

The Latest Read more

The Cayuga County Legislature misrepresents the intent and impact of pretrial reforms.

02-18-2022 New York
Misleading Headline Suggests “Progessive Prosecutors’” Policies Responsible for Rise in Violence

NYT headline implying that rolling back “tough-on-crime policies” is connected to any increase in violence is misleading.

Fact Check: Misleading

The Latest Read more

Increases in violence are occurring nationwide, and there is no evidence tying these increases to “progressive” policies or reforms.

02-17-2022 New York
The Murder of Christina Yuna Lee Highlights Many Systemic Issues

“The police aren’t effective in keeping us safe. They’ve never done a good job of preventing crime of any sort,” Choimorrow said. “You need to address the broken systemic issues in our country around mental health, around economic gaps, around racial justice.”

Fact Check: Misleading

The Latest Read more

Pinning this tragedy on bail reform is a misguided distraction rather than a move toward public safety for everyone. Bail could have been set in the prior open cases of the person accused.

02-15-2022 New York
Man’s Lengthy History of Arrests Falsely Tied to Bail Reform

The New York Post fearmongered about shoplifters and bail reform while misrepresenting the law’s impact on a person with 167 prior arrests.

Fact Check: False, Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

Although the article says that the person’s case was not bail eligible, it is immediately clear that the case was bail-eligible, and that bail was set.

02-15-2022 New York
Judge Falsely Says Bail Reform Leads to Release in Shooting Cases

Federal Judge Dora Irizarry falsely claimed that people cannot be detained pre-trial for charges involving serious violence, such as shootings.

Fact Check: False, Fearmongering, Misleading, Abuse of Credibility

The Latest Read more

It is false to say that shooting-related charges are not bail eligible.

02-03-2022 New York
Fox News Exploits Harmed Mothers’ Misunderstanding of Pre-Trial Reform

In two recent stories, Fox News exploited mothers whose lives have been directly affected by violence in order to further the anti-reform agenda.

Fact Check: Misleading

The Latest Read more

Like concerns about gun violence generally, the grief and suffering of these families is incredibly real. But to use them to push false narratives is exploitative.

02-03-2022 New York
Otsego County District Attorney Tells Clear Lies About Bail and Discovery Reform, Blames Modest Reforms for his Decision to Retire at Age 70

Otsego District Attorney John Muehl, who has a history of opposing moves to lend oversight and transparency to prosecutorial practices, blamed his decision to retire rather than seek reelection on modest pre-trial reforms

Fact Check: False

The Latest Read more

Muehl made a series of lies about modest pre-trial reforms implemented. We debunk each every point in this briefing.

01-29-2022 New York
The New York Times Contributes to Misinformation Through Irresponsible Framing

The New York Times ran a story with the headline, “Adams Blames Bail Law After Release of Teen Charged in Officer Shooting." The article later revealed that Eric Adams’s claim and position were not based in fact.

Fact Check: Misleading

The Latest Read more

Neither the bail law or bail reform had anything whatsoever to do with the case. A judge could and did set bail. Millions who saw the headline took away the opposite.

01-28-2022 New York
Mayor Eric Adams Misrepresents Both the Facts and the Law in Teen’s Case

Mayor Adams released an official statement that falsely presented the circumstances of a teen’s case and wrongly stated that he was only free because a judge lacked the authority to detain him due to bail reform.

Fact Check: False

The Latest Read more

The judge had a full slate of options regarding pretrial conditions for the teen, from release to electronic monitoring to remand. He set bail. Moreover, Adams's version of the case was wildly misleading.

01-26-2022 New York
Fox News Falsely Ties Bail Reform to Police Shooting Deaths, Saying Hochul “Still” Supports Bail Reform “Despite” Them

The article frames Gov. Hochul as “still” supporting bail reform “despite” the deaths of the police officers, intentionally misleading their audience.

Fact Check: False

The Latest Read more

The article, like many others, capitalizes on legitimate concern about gun violence by falsely shifting blame to bail reform.

01-24-2022 New York
Mayor Eric Adams’s “Gun Violence Prevention Plan” Falsely Ties Pre-Trial Reforms to Violence in Proposals for City

Eric Adams's “Gun Violence Prevention Plan" falsely connected bail and discovery reform to gun violence, sought to undermine Raise the Age legislation, and falsely presented police and prosecutors as disempowered.

Fact Check: False

The Latest Read more

Each of Eric Adams's policy responses is fundamentally flawed and spreads misinformation.

01-21-2022 New York
ABC 7 publishes misleading headline and story

ABC 7 misleadingly ties bail to the story of a man who allegedly shot at police and then was killed by police.

Fact Check: Misleading

The Latest Read more

Inclusion of bail status without critical context encourages the improper association between this sensationalized story and bail reform.

01-18-2022 New York
NYT publishes A False and Misleading “Examination” of a “Spike” in Murders

NYT reporter suggests protests after police murder of George Floyd caused police to pull back, which caused murder rates to increase.

Fact Check: False

The Latest Read more

The connection between the racial justice protests in 2020 and crime follows police talking points based on the widely-discredited "Ferguson Effect" theory.

01-16-2022 New York
Bronx DA Darcel Clark Falsely Blames Discovery Reform for Dropped Rape Case

Bronx DA Darcel Clark lied and falsely blamed her failure to prosecute a high profile case on “discovery reform.”

Fact Check: False

The Latest Read more

The case had been pending for more than two years prior to the implementation of discovery reform and was dismissed a year and a half after the law went into effect.

01-15-2022 New York
New York Post Publishes Op-Ed Decrying Reform By a Storeowner Misled by Police

NYPD preemptively and falsely blamed their own failure to prevent or solve a store robbery on reform. The storeowner–unfortunately and through no fault of his own–believed them.

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

There is nothing to suggest these thefts can be tied to any reforms. Bail, discovery, and prosecutorial reforms did not affect this case.

01-11-2022 New York
GOP Lawmakers Seek to Discredit Data Confirms Bail Reform’s Efficacy

Opponents of bail reform continue to push the lie, despite available evidence, that bail reform has caused widespread harm.

Fact Check: False

The Latest Read more

New York State data on the rearrests of people who were free while awaiting trial further confirms that bail reform has had no negative effect on public safety.

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
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.

02-05-2020 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
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.

02-03-2020 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
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

01-28-2020 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.

01-25-2020 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"

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

NBC Think: What the alleged attack on Giuliani reveals about his policing legacy

"Giuliani has repeatedly attacked New York’s modest bail reform laws...Although data has consistently shown no decrease in public safety due to bail reform, Adams continues to scapegoat the law, exploiting legitimate safety concerns and distracting from true solutions to violence."

Another Voice: Bail reform rollbacks are an attack on communities of color

"Our leaders should be demanding more pretrial freedom, not less. Increasing pretrial incarceration does not advance public safety and won’t help strengthen our communities."

Washington Post: Bail reform did not spike crime

"Rising gun violence over the past two years makes bail reform and other common-sense measures an easy target. However, when we blame the wrong cause, we miss the opportunity to identify the right solutions."

Legal Aid Society: Statewide Survey Shows Success of Discovery Reform

"The survey results revealed that the vast majority of criminal defense attorneys across New York State believe that discovery reform has achieved the desired results and has positively impacted not only their ability to provide competent representation, but also the fairness of New York’s criminal justice system."

City and State: Why bail reform is worth defending from politicization

"In over 40 years in criminal justice, I’ve often witnessed elected officials seek to aggrandize themselves during times of heightened fear. That is how the current era of mass incarceration was born."

AMNY: Families of those deceased in city jails urge Governor to halt bail policy changes: letter

"'Melania Brown, Akeem Browder, and many more who have been bound together through the pain of losing a loved one behind bars have dedicated their lives to preventing other families from experiencing that same grief. However, these brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters turned activists now believe there will be a lot more grief spread if the Governor continues her present course."

City Limits: Gov. Hochul’s Bail Plan Will Upend Years of Reform While Failing to Address Safety

"With just days remaining before New York State’s budget deadline, Hochul’s last minute plan—which was dropped on the same day of another tragic death at Rikers Island—would roll back bail reform and expand pretrial detention rates statewide, while doing nothing to advance true safety."

NY Daily News: The governor’s plan will create more Kalief Browders

"The death of my brother Kalief Browder sparked an international outcry — not just because of the terrible injustices he faced, but because he defied the odds, refused to plead guilty to a crime he did not commit, and demanded fairness. In honor of his fight, I have been demanding fairness, too, through the Kalief Browder Foundation. Now is a moment we must all rise up to stop a new plan by Gov. Hochul that could lead to countless more tragedies like the one my family suffered."

NY Daily News: Bail reform isn’t driving NYC’s crime increase

"Some pundits and policymakers are still blaming New York’s bail reform legislation for recent rises in violent crime. But what we know so far does not support this claim. Indeed, new data suggests that our state’s enactment of bail reform did not drive the increases in violent crime. Rather than rehashing the bail reform debate, it’s time for Albany to look for effective, community-led solutions to violent crime."

Brennan Center: The Facts on Bail Reform and Crime Rates

"There is no clear connection between recent crime increases and the bail reform law enacted in 2019, and the data does not currently support further revisions to the legislation."

NY Daily News: There is ‘no evidence’ bail reform rollback would cut crime: NYC Comptroller Brad Lander

"'The data is clear that bail reform is not a contributor to the increase in crime,' Lander told the Daily News. 'I think it’s important to base our policy on facts rather than fear. So whatever people’s position is, I hope they will just take a look at the data.'"

Gothamist: Spike in violence unrelated to NY bail reforms, Sen. Krueger says

"'The data continues to reflect that the changes we made in bail are not correlated to the growth in gun violence or physical violence towards others on the streets,' [Sen. Kreuger] said Friday."

NY Daily News: When police lies fuel racist fearmongering

"Video fully discredited the police account. But the case and fearmongering coverage had already been used to denigrate the young person, undermine any presumption of his innocence, and mislead the public to believing that modest pre-trial reforms in New York were to blame."

NY Daily News: The real prosecution crisis in New York: It’s not what you may think

"But the real crisis in prosecutions, both in New York and elsewhere in the United States, is not leniency, but punitiveness, along with an ironclad interest in protecting the office above all else and, relatedly, in preserving relationships with police and the powerful at the expense of justice and everyday constituents."

NY Daily News: We must follow facts, not fear: Bail reform not the reason for rise in some crimes in NYC

"I do want to make clear that bail reform is unequivocally not to blame. Attacking this modest, and so-far successful, policy is not only a distraction, but does a disservice to our commitment to true public safety."

NY Daily News: Why the dangerousness standard is racist

"Mayor Adams’ new blueprint to end gun violence, including his calls for bail and discovery reform rollbacks specifically, won’t achieve that goal. Instead, it will reinvigorate a system of mass incarceration of Black and Brown New Yorkers by rolling back reforms that have helped to equalize the administration of justice in New York City."

NY Daily News: The very real danger of using ‘dangerousness’

"Despite an ongoing humanitarian crisis at Rikers Island that shows no signs of abating, the mayor is advocating for an increase in pretrial detention through the addition to our bail laws of the long-disfavored element of dangerousness. This stems from the same manipulative fearmongering that has clawed at bail reform efforts every step of the way. Most importantly, it will not increase public safety."

Readers sound off on Manhattan offices, bail reform pushback and sanctioning Russia

"The dangerousness standard is guesswork. No human being or algorithmic tool can accurately predict future behavior. What the author and proponents casually ignore is the well-documented and data-proven reality that this standard is inherently biased and therefore inaccurate."

Rochester City: State data undercuts the bail reform backlash

"The uptick in crime locally and across the state mirrored spikes in much of the rest of the country...Nevertheless, some law enforcement officials have pegged the increase in violent crime in New York on bail reform. "

NY Daily News: Bail reform not the reason why Christina Yuna Lee’s accused killer was walking free

"A Daily News review of Nash’s record shows neither bail reform laws nor Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s progressive prosecution policies factored into his freedom at the time of the nightmarish stabbing."

Latrice Walker: Jail diversion funding — not bail reform change — is what NYC needs

“Quite frankly, bail reform focuses in on some misdemeanors and non-violent felonies, and so when it comes to circumstances with respect to guns, judges still have the ability to set bail in those instances,” she said.

Errol Louis in NY Mag: Judges Can Be Dangerous Too

"Opponents of bail reform — including Mayor Eric Adams — keep insisting, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, that battling violent crime requires giving judges the power to size up defendants at arraignment and decide on the spot who should be considered “dangerous” and tossed in jail before trial."

NY Civil Liberties Union: WHY WE CAN’T GO BACKWARDS ON BAIL REFORM

"Prosecutors, police departments and others are determined to drag our state even further backwards than we were before. New Yorkers should not be fooled by this cynical attempt."

AM NY: Follow the facts – bail reform is working

"Contrary to what law enforcement officials and certain elected officials are saying, these reforms are keeping New Yorkers safe and out of dangerous jails. Just look at the data."

Times Union: Bail reform isn't the problem; policing needs an overhaul

"There is no evidence that bail reform is contributing to violent acts. There is, however, hope that reforming police will decrease violent crime. Only about 20 percent of criminal files are solved by police."

NY Daily News: Attacks on Bail Reform are a Dangerous Distraction

"Instead of focusing on evidence-based programs and repairing our frayed social safety net, some New York politicians have engaged in fearmongering, misinformation and outright lies about bail reform."

Slate: Eric Adams’ “Blueprint To End Gun Violence” Is a Trojan Horse

"Instead of a blueprint he offers a series of attacks, disguised as proposed amendments, on bail, discovery, and juvenile justice reforms enacted recently in the city.”

Times Union Editorial Board: Wrong Again, on Bail

"Talk about hijacking a tragedy for political gain: Two New York City police officers are shot, and the conversation quickly turns to the entirely irrelevant topic of bail reform."

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, law enforcement, prosecutors, and reform opponents 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.

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

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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.

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PROFESSIONAL INFORMATION:

CASE AND CLIENT INFORMATION:

Mandatory release

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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

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Case Still Open?

Report Fear

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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.

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



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