ALBANY – As part of a broad plan to revamp New York State’s criminal justice system, Gov. Andrew Cuomo Thursday announced a plan to eliminate bail options on misdemeanor and non-violent felony charges, saying too many people sit in jail awaiting trial simply because they don’t have money.
“Despite once being considered among the most progressive in the nation, New York’s antiquated bails laws have not been updated in decades,” Cuomo said. “Even worse, they have essentially created a two-tiered system that has forced thousands of New Yorkers to face pre-trial detainment, for no reason other than being unable to afford bail. Freedom before trial was supposed to be the rule, not the exception, and it is time to follow this principle once again.”
Cuomo is proposing to revamp the state’s criminal justice system to ensure speedy trials, improve pre-trial discovery, address asset forfeiture and help former inmates make the transition from jail to community life.
“This year, I have proposed a comprehensive package of reforms to overhaul New York’s criminal justice system, the centerpiece of which is a plan to eliminate monetary bail all together for those facing misdemeanor or nonviolent felony charges,” the Governor said. “While it is important to ensure that safeguards exist we must stop allowing New Yorkers, who have yet to be convicted of anything, to languish in jail simply for the crime of being poor.”
Cuomo said his plan will make New York a better place to live.
“This proposal is not only helping us build a stronger New York, but one that lives up to the very principles we were founded upon” he said.