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New York Times: The Bail Trap

Every year, thousands of innocent people are sent to jail only because they can’t afford to post bail, putting them at risk of losing their jobs, custody of their children — even their lives. Two years later, that may be changing. This summer, the New York City Council took a tentative step toward reform by…

Huffington Post: How The Obama Administration Is Helping Big Bank Felons

So much for that tough talk about holding Wall Street accountable for its crimes. With the blessing of the White House and the Justice Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is attempting to sneak through a major policy change that would enable big banks convicted of felonies to continue lending through a federal…

Bronx Freedom Fund awarded the 2015 National Criminal Justice Association Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award

On Tuesday, August 4th, 2015, The Bronx Freedom Fund received the award from the National Criminal Justice Association for “outstanding criminal justice program” in the Northeast Region. Alyssa Work, Project Director of The Bronx Freedom Fund, Robin Steinberg, Executive Director of The Bronx Defenders and co-founder of The Bronx Freedom Fund, and David Feige, co-founder…

City Limits: Skeptical of Bail System—and of Plans to Reform It

In a move heralded as a reform to the city’s criminal justice system, Mayor de Blasio recently unveiled a $17.8 million plan to replace bail with “supervised release” for some defendants accused of misdemeanors or nonviolent felonies. Once the program rolls out next year, officials anticipate that judges will be able to order community supervision…

The Problem with NYC’s Bail Reform

Our Executive Director, Robin Steinberg, published the following piece in The Marshall Project about the city’s proposal to reform the bail system: “Yesterday, the city unveiled a plan to largely eliminate cash bail for New Yorkers charged with low-level or nonviolent crimes. This long overdue step has the potential to reshape pretrial detention in New York City…

WNYC: New Bail Alternative Means Freedom for Thousands

Thousands of people accused of misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies will stay out of Rikers Island under a $17.8 million pretrial supervision program, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday. The program comes as local officials try to reduce violence at the Rikers Island jails and while they grapple with concerns the criminal justice system discriminates against…

MSNBC: A victory in bail reform for criminal justice advocates

A nationwide movement for bail reform scored a significant victory on Wednesday, as America’s largest city announced a new initiative to reduce the number of people it forces to await trial behind bars. Starting next year, New York City will spend $17.8 million to supervise an estimated 3,000 low-risk defendants, instead of requiring them to…

Vice News: NYC to Eliminate Bail for Many Non-Violent Offenders

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to announce an overhaul of the city’s bail system on Wednesday that is designed to keep low-level offenders out of Rikers Island. The plan, which offers 3,000 offenders supervised release in lieu of bail, will help “reduce both the financial and human costs of needless incarceration,”…

ABC News: NYC Council Members: Suicide Points to Need for Bail Reform

The death of a 22-year-old man who hanged himself after spending three years as a teen jailed without trial should spur New Yorkers to push for bail reform, City Council members said at a hearing Wednesday. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said Kalief Browder’s death “has been a wake-up call for many in our city…

Slate: The Problem with Bail

Former Bronx Defenders Trial Chief David Feige writes in Slate about the problem with the bail system and one simple way to fix it: On Sunday, John Oliver devoted the majority of his HBO show to America’s broken bail system. “Bail” is the cash or property equivalent demanded of arrestees as surety—an assurance that they…

Newsday: NYC may set up taxpayer-paid bail fund for low-level offenses

City Council leaders want to create a $1.4 million, first-of-its-kind city-financed bail fund to spare indigent defendants charged with low-level crimes from unfair and costly stretches of confinement at Rikers Island before their day in court. But criminal justice experts are divided on how effective a reform that would be, while one of the city’s…

The Bronx Freedom Fund receives NCJA Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award!

The Bronx Freedom Fund has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 National Criminal Justice Association Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award for the Northeast Region. Each year, NCJA honors five outstanding criminal justice programs at the National Forum on Criminal Justice. Award winners are selected by a panel of criminal justice experts to recognize innovative…

City Limits: State Senator: Citywide Bail Fund Would Help, Not Hinder, Courts

A recent Daily News editorial titled “City Council: Do not pass go on bad-idea bail fund” erroneously asserted that the city-wide bail fund being considered by the City Council was unnecessary, a waste of taxpayer dollars, and would undermine the authority of judges. With all due respect to The Daily News, I could not disagree…

The Bronx Freedom Fund releases its first Annual Report

The Bronx Freedom Fund released its first annual report this week, showing the Fund’s impact since opening in October 2013. As the first licensed charitable bail organization in New York State, the Bronx Freedom Fund helps eligible clients of The Bronx Defenders post bail in misdemeanor cases where they and their families are unable to afford…

Epoch Times: Brooklyn Charity Fund Seeks to Help People Too Poor to Afford Bail

NEW YORK—Public defender Josh Saunders has seen over and over again how his clients go to jail and suffer major life-altering consequences, when just $500 for bail would have prevented it. Because they could not afford to post bail, clients who hold jobs as fast-food workers, security guards, and home health aides have gotten fired…

Le Nouvel Observateur: Dans L’enfer de Rikers Island

“Several were younger than me, I can’t imagine myself in their places. These youths are completely dehumanized, they are called ‘bing monsters.’ It’s terrible to see that it is considered normal to brutalize youths this young.” – Skylar Albertson, Assistant to the Director, The Bronx Defenders “We have paid bail for 140 people, who were…

Bronx Defenders Social Workers Represent Holistic Defense at This Year’s National Organization of Forensic Social Work Conference

Last month, The National Organization of Forensic Social Work (NOFSW) held its annual conference, which took place this year in New York at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus. Several social workers and one attorney from The Bronx Defenders attended the conference, including four staff members who presented. Participation in the conference not only presented an exciting learning and…

Huffington Post’s The Blog: Posting Bail for the Poorest of the Poor

Former Bronx Defenders Trial Chief, David Feige, writes about bail challenges and the successes of The Bronx Freedom Fund in Huffington Post’s The Blog: $500 makes all the difference. For thousands of indigent criminal defendants in New York City, $500 is all that stands between weeks on Riker’s Island and being branded with a criminal conviction,…

The Bronx Defenders Meets with Chinese Delegates to Discuss Holistic Defense

Bronx Defenders Civil Action Practice Attorney Karen Maxim spoke with a delegation of Chinese law professors and research scholars on Tuesday, April 22nd, as part of a presentation on pretrial services in the Bronx. Karen spoke about the importance of early advocacy to Holistic Defense and also discussed some the of The Bronx Defenders’ recent…

Michael Oppenheimer and Bronx Defenders client interviewed on ABC’s Here and Now

Watch Criminal Defense Practice Supervisor Michael Oppenheimer and Bronx Defenders client James Broadus on ABC’s ‘Here and Now’ discussing Holistic Defense, the work of the organization, and the impact of the Bronx Freedom Fund. ‘Here and Now’ is a weekly one hour program, airing on ABC in New York City, dedicated to covering the issues and…

New York Times: Helping Poor Defendants Post Bail in Backlogged Bronx

In October, James Broadus II, then 31, was arrested in Co-op City, the Bronx, and charged with petty larceny and assault. He was accused of taking a book bag from one man and choking another. A judge set bail at $1,000. But Mr. Broadus, who had been working odd jobs, had no savings. His closest…

New York Daily News: New version of charitable bond bill headed to Cuomo’s desk could free thousands of poor Bronx defendants

Legislation passed by state lawmakers last week with approval from Gov. Cuomo could free thousands of jailed Bronxites. Sponsored by state Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx), the new law will allow charitable organizations statewide to post bail – up to $2,000 – for poor defendants held on misdemeanor charges. The Cuomo-vetted bill is an amended version…

The Village Voice: Bail is Busted: How Jail Really Works

Lauren DiGioia’s face was stony and impassive beneath bright blue hair as she was brought into a courtroom in handcuffs on March 18. At 2:30 the previous afternoon, DiGioia, 27, had become the first person arrested by the New York City Police Department during Occupy Wall Street’s six-month anniversary at Zuccotti Park. DiGioia was taken…

WNYC: Report Finds Bail Set Too High for Minor Offenses

A new report finds that while each year tens of thousands of people arrested for minor offenses are released pending a trial or some other outcome, a substantial number that can’t afford bail and end up in Rikers Island for things like shoplifting, smoking marijuana or getting in fights. The report by Human Rights Watch…

New York Times: Stranger Posts Bail for Chambers’s Friend

When Robert E. Chambers Jr. was arrested on Oct. 22 on charges of selling cocaine out of an Upper East Side apartment, many people saw it as the denouement of a morality tale, the final fall of “the preppy killer” who pleaded guilty to strangling Jennifer Levin during rough sex in Central Park two decades…