Albany, NY — In response to Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan’s claim that there might be data available linking New York’s bail reform law to waves of violence across the state, Saye Joseph, statewide civil rights campaign manager at Citizen Action, released the following statement: 

“Every New Yorker deserves equal treatment under the law. That’s why, in 2019, the legislature passed a law to ensure that New Yorkers can’t be held in jail just because they’re poor. Today, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan echoed the harmful lies we hear from the far-right who weaponize cherry-picked data to stoke fear in our communities and pit us against each other.

“This toxic approach isn’t about public safety; it doesn’t present real solutions; and it narrowly focuses on crime only when it can be sensationalized for political purposes. That’s why we have fought for years to expose and correct an unjust system that penalizes the poor and serves the rich. It is time for our elected officials to stop stoking fear and start passing legislation and budgets that structurally repair and restore our communities after decades of institutional racism that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Any more rollbacks to bail reform will take us back to a time where we saw more people of color and poor people victimized by a system that was never meant to provide real accountability in the first place. What we really need is a plan to address the root causes of both community violence and state violence, such as access to jobs that pay living wages, investment in credible messengers and cure violence programs, more funding for restorative programs across the state, and legislation that continues to address the perpetual harms of the unjust criminal legal system.”