Albany, NY — In response to the January 1, 2020 enactment of historic pretrial justice reforms, Amy Jones, Community Organizer, Citizen Action of New York, said:

“Today, New Yorkers across the state are celebrating enactment of our new bail, discovery and speedy trial laws. People power, years of fierce advocacy and the resolve of our partners and elected allies have delivered a powerful blow to an injustice system that has criminalized race and poverty, destroyed lives and caged legally innocent people for generations. These reforms are long overdue, and help move us towards a “justice” system that lives up to its name.

“This day is especially meaningful to me, because I personally fought on the frontlines to pass these laws. I have also suffered behind bars because I couldn’t afford the price tag on my freedom. I have been coerced into plea deals without knowing about the evidence against me. I know what the human costs of pretrial injustice are – and so I know it’s no exaggeration to say that countless lives will be saved as a result of these new laws.

“Mass incarceration has always been justified in the name of “public safety” – but we know from data and lived experience that bail and pretrial detention have never kept us safe. We also know that the old pretrial laws were weaponized against Black, Brown and poor people to maintain gross power imbalances and disparity in the system. The things that truly create safe and healthy communities are people being home with their children, keeping their homes, staying in school, earning money and remaining a part of community. The new pretrial laws help get us there.
“To be clear, there is much more work to be done. But today, we commend the thousands of directly impacted people, advocates and New York’s elected leaders for taking this historic step towards justice.”