ALBANY – With the deadline for the state budget just days away, Governor Kathy Hochul finally stopped evading questions about bail reform, shedding light on the plan ahead.
On Friday, the Governor spoke to the Albany Press Corps about her leaked public safety plan, and how discourse on the subject from both sides of the aisle means she is headed in the right direction.
“I think that’s a sign that you’re in the right place,” Hochul said speaking with WBFO NPR radio.
Though the aim of the 2019 law was to eradicate the way race and financial status affected the criminal justice system, it has not done anything to discourage the increasing crime rates seen nationwide.
In an op-ed by the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, public safety concerns remained at the forefront of the bail reform discussion, explaining that while the reforms were successful in their original task, they are not yet perfect.
“This is not about undoing bail reform, it’s about finding areas where we can strengthen it, make it work for people,” said Hochul.
The Governor believes the problem of repeat offenders on pretrial release, making gun crimes bail-eligible, and setting more restrictive pretrial conditions for those gun crimes must be addressed to combat the wave of violence being seen in the state.
Additionally, increasing funding for mental health services, and easing the transition back into society from serving time is on the Governor’s proposed safety plan in an effort to prevent the crimes before they happen.
Despite Hochul’s claims that her plan is comprehensive from both sides of the issue, NYGOP Chairman Nick Langworthy announced a Freedom of Information Law request into Hochul’s administration on all communications related to bail reform.
“Public safety is on the ballot this November, and the people of this state have a right to know who their Governor is talking to and what she is saying about bail reform,” says Langworthy.
According to Langworthy, Hochul only admitted to the faults of bail reform when she realized it could cost her an election.
“Kathy Hochul has talked a big game about wanting to be transparent. Well let’s see if she’s serious about transparency. Or is this just another bullshit talking point that she’s trying to dupe the voters with,” asks Langworthy.
Should bail reform be overturned, Langworthy suggests a bipartisan approach to working out a new system.
“What would be done if this was an honest process, is you would have studies, you would have hearings, you would have Sheriffs, D.A’s, the state police, federal law enforcement. Get everybody at the table and find out how we can make a better system that perhaps is more equitable. I’m not saying there’s no inequities,” explains Langworthy.