Cash bail, or an amount of money set at court for an individual’s pretrial release, is unfair and unjust — it criminalizes poverty and results in people spending time in jail simply because they cannot afford their freedom. Being locked up makes everything harder, from staying connected with your family to participating in your own defense.
The good news? In response to the actions of Global Citizens and the wider advocacy community, New York is on the verge of passing comprehensive bail reform legislation to end cash bail and defeat the criminalization of poverty.
But this is all at risk. A group of prosecutors is trying to water down the change you demanded by claiming that the legislation would cause public safety problems. Here’s the truth: the comprehensive bail reform you asked Governor Cuomo to champion will improve public safety and keep fewer poor New Yorkers out of jail.
Prosecutors can play a huge role in helping to end New York’s unfair and unjust cash bail system, and it is essential that they recognize that this will make communities safer. Luckily, there are also prosecutors who believe in the change Global Citizens are taking action to realize. As former prosecutor Adam Foss emphasizes, “prosecutors can make reform happen, in my mind, quicker than any other stakeholder in the system.”
New Yorkers accused of a crime should be allowed to go home to their families and their communities, with access to community-based services and support if they need it. Only the very few who pose a real risk to public safety should be held in jail pending trial.
This is a critical moment and we need your support. Take action to let prosecutors know that New Yorkers demand an end to the criminalization of poverty and don’t want watered-down legislation.