New York nonprofit The Legal Aid Society (LAS) Thursday reported that data from the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) shows the successes of New York’s 2019 bail reform law.
Under the 2019 law, judges must release those charged with misdemeanors or most nonviolent felonies on their own recognizance or under “non-monetary conditions.” However, for all violent felonies and some nonviolent felonies, like sex offenses, judges can still set monetary bail. DCJS data shows that 15 percent of people failed to return for trial in 2019; in 2o21, the figure decreased to 9 percent. For those released on their own recognizance, re-arrest rates decreased from 18 percent to 16 percent by 2021.
In a statement, Supervising Attorney of the LAS Decarceration Project Arielle Reid said the “numbers confirm what we’ve known all along: bail reform has decreased jail populations, kept communities intact and furthered public safety. Any claim to the contrary doesn’t square with reality, and is merely baseless fear mongering.” According to Reid, LAS and other organizations will pursue further reforms in the state legislature’s next session.