March 17, 2022
Nick Encalada-Malinowski, firstname.lastname@example.org, 347-259-4835
Mariah McGough, Mariah@vocal-ny.org, 203 470 9979
VOCAL-NY SLAMS GOV. HOCHUL FOR RUSHING THROUGH BAIL ROLLBACKS IN LAST DAYS OF BUDGET SESSION
NEW YORK — In response to Governor Hochul’s 10-point plan to increase mass incarceration in New York State, VOCAL-NY released the following statement, attributable to VOCAL-NY Civil Rights Union Leader Roger Clark:
“It’s wrong for the Governor to cave to pressure on bail, discovery and raise the age. Those have been good reforms that have helped a lot of people and that are unconnected to any violence that we are seeing in the streets. It’s especially hurtful to see the Lieutenant Governor, who was an advocate for criminal justice reform and as a Black man from Harlem who knows the harms of the system, roll over.
This proposal is extremely punitive. They are trying to go after people because of their record and that’s discriminatory and just not right. Prosecutors want to go back to the days of trial by ambush by withholding evidence and using bail to coerce guilty pleas. The governor should not go along with that.
I pray that Carl Heastie and Andrea Stewart-Cousins will push back and stick to their guns and not cave to the same pressure.”
After claiming she would “not cave to pressure” on rolling back bail reform, Governor Hochul has changed her tune. Her push for bail rollbacks in the last weeks of the budget session replicates the Cuomo administration playbook, despite trying to set herself apart from her predecessor. She made clear that she would leave this issue to the Legislature, and Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins has made clear that she does not intend to repeal the reforms.
Bail reform caused an immediate—and significant—decrease in jail populations across New York State; numbers fell by nearly one-third in a matter of months. This means that people who, in the past, would have been in jail because they couldn’t afford bail were able to return to their families and their jobs while awaiting trial. These positive impacts were most heavily felt by Black New Yorkers and people living outside of New York City, who were most likely to be jailed before the reforms took effect.