The Bronx Defenders Calls on the State Legislature to Reject the Governor’s Bail Proposal and Protect Thousands of New Yorkers from Pre-Trial Torture


Contact: Anthony Chiarito,

New York, NY – On Friday, one day before the New York State budget is due, The Bronx Defenders issued the following statement following reports that the Governor is holding up the budget process over her insistence on changing the state’s bail laws to jail more New Yorkers:

“We categorically reject the Governor’s nonsensical changes to the bail laws and urge Assembly Speaker Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins to hold the line and protect thousands of New Yorkers from being jailed and tortured pre-trial.

“Bail reform has done exactly what public defenders, law professors, community activists, and people who are formerly incarcerated said it would do – it has saved thousands of New Yorkers from enduring pre-trial torture without compromising anyone’s safety. All the data shows this.

“What we need is investments in true community safety, yet the Governor has mounted a campaign of fear and misinformation that distract from real solutions. Amid this campaign, bail has gone up. Jail populations have gone up. Deaths behind bars have increased, with a record number of New Yorkers dying in jail last year while waiting for their day in court.

“The truth is judges already have discretion to set bail and they are abusing it. They’re setting more bail, more often, and using money bail not as a mechanism of release, as required under the law, but as a mechanism of jailing poor people. Exactly what the Governor claims she is against, and what her proposal will encourage dramatically.

“More discretion will lead to more pretrial jail, more racial bias, more inequality, more division, more despair – and ultimately, more violence and insecurity in our communities.

“We are confident in Speaker Heastie and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins’ convictions and principles. We also know they are under tremendous political pressure, which is why we join other defenders, experts, and New Yorkers to double their resolve. We call on the Senate and Assembly to maintain the moral and evidence-based position that jailing more New Yorkers pre-trial will not make us safer.”