New state budget will bring changes to bail reform law
The new state budget is bringing some modifications to New York's controversial bail reform law.
An added provision will give judges more freed to make their own decisions about who should be kept in prison. It removes an aspect of the bail reform law that required the least restrictive means to make sure someone returns to court.
Some are calling it a big win for public safety, claiming the bail reform law was letting accused criminals out of jail to commit new crimes.
"I think it's a little step in the right direction, but pre-bail reform was working," says Suffolk PBA Vice President Lou Tutone. "Was it perfect? No. Did there need to be changes? Maybe with education, but we still need to have set bail for certain crimes."
Others say this will negatively affect poor people who cannot afford to post bail.
"Bail is not supposed to be punitive - it's not there to punish people," says Frederick Brewington, a civil rights attorney. "It's there to ensure they would return to court. And if bail for the purposes of a minor issue is set at a higher level for someone that is not of means, that means not only can they not get out of jail, but the likelihood is they are going to be subject to harsh circumstances inside the prison system."
Another proposal to bail reform would have given prosecutors more time to turn over evidence to defense attorneys. That plan was left out of the state budget.