“Continued discussion of changing the bail laws to increase pretrial jailing and racial oppression flies in the face of both civil rights and public health. To have members of Albany’s leadership pushing for these policy changes as part of this year’s budget process – when the focus should be on securing funding to repair the social safety net – is astounding. Even the law enforcement community is now urging Governor Cuomo and the legislature to focus on fighting COVID-19 rather than on changing a policy that was negotiated for years,” said Erin George, Civil Rights Campaigns Director of Citizen Action of New York.
“Bail reform has been saving lives – and preventing tragedies like what happened to Kalief Browder in New York City and India Cummings in Erie County – every day since it went into effect on January 1st and it should be fully preserved. In fact, we need to be doing far more to get people out of jails and prisons and end mass criminalization. New York State lawmakers should listen to the people and families harmed by mass incarceration and follow the facts, not the cynical politics of regressive former federal prosecutor Todd Kaminsky and Governor Cuomo, who’ve made clear that liberty and equity are not their priorities. As we near the final hours of negotiations, our demand remains the same: Protect our progress and the lives of New Yorkers and reject changes to bail reform.”