FWD.us, an advocacy group, discovered that inaccurate media headlines associating rising crime with New York’s cashless bail system led to public opposition.
They analysed how mischaracterizations of the bail overhauls led to public opposition and legislators rolling back elements of the changes despite no crime increases.
Criminal Justice Reform Reports
“We hope our study may cast light on the truth about the success of bail reform in New York and hold the media accountable for their role in determining bail policy,” said Alana Sivin, policy and research manager for criminal justice reform at FWD.us and report co-author.
“The evidence indicates that bail reform has not increased crime,” Sivin said.
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New York’s Democratic-led Legislature curtailed pretrial imprisonment for most nonviolent offences in 2019 to reduce the number of impoverished defendants in jail awaiting trial.
Some polls showed public support plummeting 18 points in the nine months between the law’s adoption and implementation.
Detected 204 Bail-Related Articles
Judges set bail for criminally negligent murder and manslaughter in 2020. FWD.us reported 454 media articles linking bail reform to crime in the three months before.
In the state budget this year, Gov. Hochul and lawmakers handed judges extra bail discretion for gun offences and repeat offenders.
Republicans, law enforcement, and others accuse Democrats of catering to criminals by opposing criminal justice reforms.
FWD.us research cites municipal and state figures showing that re-arrest rates were virtually the same before and after bail reform, and proponents point to increasing violent crime everywhere, not just in New York, during the pandemic.
Michael Rempel, director of John Jay College’s Statistics Collaborative for Justice, told the Daily News in October that cashless bail hasn’t increased crime.