New Yorkers value fairness, justice, and equal opportunity. But our broken justice system is undermining these values. There are over 25,000 people detained in local jails across New York State on any given day; nearly 70% are being detained pretrial. This means they have not been convicted—they have only been charged with a crime, are presumed innocent, and are awaiting their day in court. Most are detained in jail pretrial simply because they cannot afford to pay cash bail. This practice harms communities, particularly communities of color, who are disproportionately targeted by current practices. No one should be held in jail simply because they cannot afford to buy their freedom.
New York can fix this crisis -- if lawmakers take action during the 2019 the legislative session.
Tell lawmakers in Albany it’s time for bail reform. Use the form on the right to take action now -- and watch our videos below.
New York State’s "blindfold law." The law allows prosecutors in criminal cases to withhold police reports or witness statements from the defense until the day of the trial. This means defendants often do not receive evidence that would normally be shared in civil cases ahead of the trial. Additionally, the law does not give a person charged with a crime the right to learn who is accusing them.
For the last four decades, America has relentlessly relied on incarceration as a solution to complex social problems– discarding far too many lives and wasting billions of taxpayer dollars each year. Like any disease, this nation’s prison epidemic affects a broad spectrum of individuals, families, and communities. Mass imprisonment severs important family relationships–consigning millions of American children to multigenerational poverty, low educational achievement, poor social and emotional development and potential future criminal justice involvement. The cycling in and out of Americans diminishes our capacity to build stronger, safer communities by straining the fragile social networks of the poor neighborhoods that absorb the 600,000 men and women returning home each year.