In response to calls to amend the new pre-trial laws and return to a pretrial system that will continue to prey on Black, Brown and low-income communities, Ivette Alfonso, President of Citizen Action of New York, released the following statement:
“For far too long, the money bail system has favored the wealthy and well-connected, while people who were too poor to afford bail were jailed for months or years before their trial. That’s not how a system of justice based on being innocent until proven guilty is supposed to work.
“Now, just days into the implementation of the new pretrial laws which were carefully crafted to balance the scales of justice, there are calls to undermine these critical reforms. Those calling for changes are giving in to fear-mongering and alarmism rooted in racism and driven by the very people and institutions who created the crisis of mass incarceration to begin with: district attorneys and law enforcement. Let’s tell it like it is – they would prefer a system in which someone Black and poor can be locked behind bars indefinitely, while someone wealthy and white is released on the very same charge. That’s their justice.
“The new pretrial laws recognize that detaining someone pretrial doesn’t make us safer – access to things like mental health services, family support, employment and housing are the things that address the root causes of harm and prevent crime. Citizen Action of New York expects legislators to reject calls to reverse the hard-fought progress won on this issue in the State Legislature, and allow these laws to be fully and justly implemented.”