Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced an initiative to replace the cash-based bail system currently in place in New York City. The purpose for setting bail is to ensure that the accused will come back to court when scheduled. However, according to de Blasio, there is no research to support the idea that bail is the best way to guarantee a return. In addition, the traditional cash-based bail system has been criticized for unfairly leaving people in jail not because they are a bigger flight risk, but merely because they cannot afford to pay a high-priced bail. Under this new initiative, the city will begin experimenting with bail alternatives to get people back to court.
Rikers Island, the most populated prison in New York, with over 47,000 people detained, has been nicknamed the Bail Lab for these purposes. On average, 17,000 people per year post bail and leave Rikers Island within one week of their arrest. However, research shows that spending even one night in jail is linked to a higher rate of recidivism and is therefore a detriment to the criminal justice system as a whole.
With the new initiative, judges will be collecting more risk data on prisoners, which will allow them to better determine who is a flight risk. In addition, the initiative will focus on issues like quicker releases for people who have the funds to post bail, but do not have access to them, such as those who cannot pay by credit card or cannot reach a family member for help.
The city has launched a website (bail-lab.nyc) to provide information on the problems with the bail system as it stands and to ask for suggestions and opinions from the public. Officials will reportedly be checking the website and posting announcements periodically.
If you have been charged with a crime in Albany or anywhere else in New York State, an experienced criminal defense attorney can work to protect your rights. Contact The Rosenblum Law Firm at 866-634-9849. Our legal team will work hard to have your criminal charges reduced or dismissed.