The cash bail system in New York has legally disabled many of the city’s poor non-violent offenders who sit in cells because they can’t afford to get out. It’s a heated topic for which criminal justice advocates have sought reform in order to ease restrictions.
Now, a coalition made of of a dozen of those reform groups have called out and blasted Mayor Bill de Blasio for his efforts to implement tougher bail restrictions in a system that is already strangling cash-strapped detainees, The New York Daily News reports.
“We are appalled by New York City Mayor de Blasio’s explicit efforts to derail essential reforms to New York’s bail and parole release systems and to reverse progress made toward the decarceration of New York’s jails and prisons,” the coalition said in a statement released Monday.
The Legal Aid Society has also joined in the fight against De Blasio’s bid to make harsher bail restrictions.
On Thursday, de Blasio told reporters: “We have real concerns about the parole system.”
“And while we can say there’s things where we want to see reform [in the criminal justice system], we can also say there’s things where we want to see some tightening up.”
According to the Daily News, based on NYPD records, people on parole made up 19% of the city’s 289 murders in 2018.
However, advocates argue that de Blasio’s statement has the markings of racism, saying his comments “pander to racist and oppressive policies that have fueled the mass incarceration crisis and fly in the face of critical advocacy.”
#BREAKING: Criminal justice groups slam de Blasio's push for tougher bail restrictions Cc: @BklynDefender @BronxDefenders @VOCALNewYork @RAPPcampaign @BKBailFund @JustLeadersUSA @citizenactionny @latinojustice @MetroJustice @DecarcerateNYC https://t.co/45PJdntChO
— The Legal Aid Society (@LegalAidNYC) January 7, 2019
The coalition noted that for New York, violent crimes in 2018 have decreased and are reportedly at an all-time low which contradicts the need to push for tighter bail restrictions.
According to the coalition, De Blasio should focus on “ineffective ‘accountability systems’ that allow police and corrections officers to perpetrate acts of violence and other abuses and remain on the job.”
They also stated that this move by the mayor is possibly a catalyst for “future dangerousness . . . will only reinforce the structural race- and wealth-based disparities that already plague the state’s criminal legal system and invite judges to rely on stereotypes of black and Latino people.”
The coalition consists of The Legal Aid Society, the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, Brooklyn Defender Services, the Bronx Defenders, Citizen Action of New York, JustLeadershipUSA, LatinoJustice, Metro Justice, New York Communities for Change, Parole Preparation Project, the Release Aging People in Prison Campaign and VOCAL-NY.