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The Bronx Defenders Policy & Community

Human Rights Watch: 128 Rights Groups Urge New York Legislature to Implement Pretrial Reforms

“Despite the fact that a majority of New Yorkers and State elected officials support the new pretrial laws, prosecutors continue to engage in a coordinated strategy to subvert the pretrial reforms before they have even gone into effect by spreading fear and misinformation. The new bail, discovery and speedy trial laws were carefully and deliberately crafted over the course…

Amsterdam News: Report: Solitary confinement increased in New York

“The Bronx Defenders want the Board of Corrections to stop waiting to initiate the rule-making process so New Yorkers can weigh in because it’s a crisis. “Hundreds of people are held in solitary confinement in our city’s jails every year,” read the Bronx Defenders’ statement. “The torturous conditions devastate the people we serve and the…

News12: New law to eliminate cash bail, release prisoners

“A new state law goes into effect in January that will eliminate cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies. New York City has identified nearly 900 people who are currently behind bars awaiting trial that can apply to have their bail lifted and be freed.” Watch the full video here

New York Daily News: Three strikes but still not out: Inside the Bronx ‘Opioid Court’ where addicts get extra swings at recovery

“Avery McNeil, the alternatives to incarceration specialist at the Bronx Defenders, a nonprofit legal organization, praised OAR for setting up a pathway that allows people to get addiction treatment without first copping to a crime that could stay on their permanent record regardless of their recovery. “That’s really important for our clients who are facing employment,…

Jessica Prince Presented Testimony at Hearing re: Progessive Caucus ACS Bills

New York City Council  Committee on General Welfare October 31, 2019  Written Testimony of The Bronx Defenders By Emma S. Ketteringham, Managing Director, Family Defense Practice Jessica Prince, Policy Counsel, Family Defense Practice Thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of New York City Council’s Child Welfare Package. The stakes could not be…

NYC Public Defender Orgs Statement on Proposed NYC BOC Rules on Solitary Confinement

Defender Organizations Demand an End to Solitary Confinement, Urge NYC Board of Correction to Take Action FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NEW YORK — The Bronx Defenders, Neighborhood Defender Service, Brooklyn Defender Services, and New York County Defender Services call on the New York City Board of Correction (DOC) to take action to end the torture of solitary confinement. The Board will…

Law360: Closing Rikers May Pave New Path For Mentally Ill Inmates

“New York City’s move to close the notorious prison Rikers Island could be an important step in making sure people suffering from mental illnesses, who make up half of America’s incarcerated population of 2.3 million, aren’t lost in the criminal justice system, according to speakers at an event on the problems of mass incarceration… Roberts…

NY1: Advocates Rally to Repeal 50A Law

The Police Commissioner supports making such records public as long as disciplinary hearings are completed and wrongdoing is confirmed. “But we also know that the police officers who have a history of compliant continue to police these communities. They continue to patrol these streets. But, the public has been deprived from getting any information about…

Scott Levy Presented Testimony at Hearing on the Implementation of Discovery Reform

The New York State Senate Standing Committee on Codes Hearing on the Implementation of Pre-Trial Reform September 9, 2019 Testimony of Scott D. Levy, Chief Policy Counsel THE BRONX DEFENDERS This spring, New York passed historic comprehensive discovery reform.  BxD applauds the New York State Assembly, Senate, and the Governor — Senator Bailey and Assembly…

Joint Statement: NYC Defenders Call on Judges, DAs to Implement Criminal Justice Reforms Immediately

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*** April 5, 2019 NYC DEFENDERS CALL ON JUDGES, DISTRICT ATTORNEYS TO IMPLEMENT CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS IMMEDIATELY INSTEAD OF WAITING UNTIL 2020 (NEW YORK, NY) – The Legal Aid Society, New York County Defender Services, Brooklyn Defender Services, The Bronx Defenders, and Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem released a joint statement today calling…

New York Times: The Real Problem With Police Video

A Chicago police officer shot and killed a teenager named Laquan McDonald in October of last year, but most of us learned about Mr. McDonald only last week, after a judge ordered the release of police video footage of his death. That is also when prosecutors finally brought first-degree murder charges against the officer. Clearly,…

Bronx Times: Annual block party held by Bronx Defenders

The Bronx Defenders held their 2015 Community Block Party on Wednesday, July 8 at the organization’s headquarters of 360 E. 161st Street. The block party included a barbecue, performances from local musicians, face painting, basketball tournaments, balloon animals, pony rides, carnival games, and other activities. By Steven Goodstein To see photos click here.

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…

HuffPost Live: NYC To End Cash Bail For Low-Level Offenders

“The law is not the problem. The fact that judges routinely disregard the law and the options provided for under the law is the issue.” — Robyn Mar, Director of Early Advocacy New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to end bail for low-level offenders, allowing them to await trial under home supervision. We…

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,”…