Advocates for overhauling New York’s criminal justice laws are pushing back against the growing effort to alter the newly enacted cash bail law.
Democratic state lawmakers over the last several weeks have been slammed by Republicans, law enforcement officials and prosecutors over the effects of ending cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies: The release of people facing charges like robbery and manslaughter.
Some Democrats are coalescing around measures that would enable judicial discretion for people who are deemed to be too dangerous. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, without going into specifics, said Monday he would consider alterations to the law as well.
But advocates who pushed for the passage of criminal justice law changes last year are now gearing up for a fight to protect them.
“We feel that it’s the early days of implementation, so I don’t understand what kind of overhaul we’re talking about,” said Citizen Action of New York President Ivette Alfonso.
Ending cash bail, advocates argue, is meant to prevent the inequality of people who can afford to make bail be released, while people too poor to do so await trial in prison.
“We have to stop that kind of uneven application of the laws,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Working Families Party is also pushing back against any effort to scale back the changes.
“The Working Families Party is proud to stand strong with criminal justice reform advocates, communities of color, and progressive leaders in Albany to oppose any changes to bail, discovery and speedy trial laws,” said State Director Sochie Nnaemeka. “We refuse to return to a time when the wealthy could buy their way out of jail while poor New Yorkers sat behind bars. We will not go back.”