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NY Needs To Revisit Bail Reform Laws, State Attorney General Says

Attorney General Letitia James is the latest elected official to propose the recently enacted bail reform laws.
Attorney General Letitia James is the latest elected official to propose the recently enacted bail reform laws. Photo Credit: Contributed

New York State Attorney General Letitia James has become to latest voice to speak out against the recently enacted statewide bail reform laws.

As of Wednesday, Jan. 1, thousands of inmates throughout the state were put back on the streets due to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bail reform legislation, which marked the end of cash bail for misdemeanor and non-violent felony offenders that were previously incarcerated.

The reform has come under fire from both the community, law enforcement agencies, and elected officials, who believe that Cuomo should revisit the law for possible changes in the legislation.

According to reports, at an event upstate on Saturday, Jan. 4, James called on Cuomo to circle back to the legislation, but failed to provide any guidance for potential changes, saying that she “would not negotiate in public,” and adding that “safety should be the top priority.”

Under the new legislation, the following have been deemed “non-violent:"

  • Third-degree assault;
  • Aggravated vehicular assault;
  • Aggravated assault upon a person under the age of 11;
  • Criminally negligent homicide;
  • Aggravated vehicular homicide;
  • Second-degree manslaughter;
  • Unlawful imprisonment;
  • First-degree coercion;
  • Third and fourth-degree arson;
  • First-degree grand larceny;
  • Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds or criminal possession of a firearm;
  • Some drug offenses involving the use of children;
  • Promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child;
  • Possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child, and;
  • Promoting a sexual performance by a child.

Officials noted that in addition to the safety concerns that some convicts pose, inmates are also missing out on programs and services that are provided in jails and prisons to help educate those who are behind bars.

“inmates often detox upon entering the facility, coming off of drugs and alcohol in a safe environment. They can then begin addiction programs, therapy programs, high school equivalency classes, specialized youth, and elderly housing areas, and more. If these offenders are not remanded by the courts, the chances of them entering a program are very slim.”

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