Today, decarceration and civil rights advocacy organizations, Center for Community Alternatives and Citizen Action of New York released “Sending New Yorkers to Jail,” a report highlighting the enormous power wielded by law enforcement unions to advance their political interests in Albany and to block, undo or rollback legislation. In particular, this report exposes campaign contributions by police and corrections unions to New York State politicians and details how this nexus of money and politics contributed to the passage of rollbacks to bail reform that expand money bail and pretrial jailing. The report is particularly timely as these regressive changes to the bail reform law are scheduled to go into effect on July 2.
As revealed in the report, since 2018, Governor Andrew Cuomo has accepted $86,450 in campaign contributions from law enforcement. The six Democratic Senators from Long Island – who drove much of the demand in the Senate to subject more people to pretrial incarceration – collectively received $131,400.
On average, Senators who voted to expose more New Yorkers to money bail received 10 times as much in law enforcement union donations as those who voted in opposition. Assembly Members who voted for rollbacks to bail reform received nearly 3 times the law enforcement donations, on average, as those who voted against.
To address the mutually reinforcing harms of unjust political influence and anti-Black state violence, the report lays out six critical demands:
- Suspend Bail Reform Rollbacks & Protect Pretrial Liberty
- Defund Police and Invest in Communities:
- Pass and Protect Community-Driven Legislation to Dismantle Systems of State Violence
- Take a #NoCopMoney Pledge
- Expand Voting Rights & Eliminate Systemic Disenfranchisement
- End Big Money in Politics