The alterations to New York's cash bail law have been criticized by supporters of the original measure as well as its Republican critics.
But one criminal justice reform coalition, New Yorkers United for Justice, said the provisions in the newly approved state budget kept the spirit of the original law's intent.
“We view these changes to the pretrial reform laws as a signal that the legislative portion of pretrial reforms has drawn to a close," said Khalil Cumberbatch, the group's chief strategist.
"Looking ahead, we will continue our tireless pursuit of oversight and accountability — and the wide, public availability of statewide data — to ensure that the goals of the laws, to make the pretrial process fair, equal, and free from bias based on race and poverty, are achieved and sustained. We will continue to offer our partnership to all stakeholders involved, including the governor and the legislature to affect that, and to help demonstrate that fairness under the law and the safety of our communities go together."
The budget agreement which gained final passage early Friday morning added more charges that would require cash bail.
The final agreement did not include a provision allowing judges to remand a defendant based on whether the person is believed to be a danger to the community. Meanwhile, New Yorkers United for Justice, like many reform advocates, worry about the number of people in local jails who could face exposure to coronavirus.
“We know that much work remains to dramatically reform New York's criminal justice system, from all sides and across all dimensions, and work can now continue, especially with respect to reforming New York's draconian system of parole," Cumberbatch said. "In the meantime, we continue to urge law enforcement officials to ensure that no one is unnecessarily detained or incarcerated during the COVID-19 crisis for any reason, including and especially during an individual's pretrial period."