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February 13, 2020

In response to reports Senate Democrats are considering the introduction of a bill to give judges broad discretion to deny bail to those they determine to be dangerous, the New York Civil Liberties Union released the following statement from Executive Director, Donna Lieberman: 
 
“Reforms to our state’s unjust money bail system have been in place for only six weeks but already, before we can even evaluate their impact, some police, prosecutors, and members of the Senate are pressing to roll-back the reforms.
 
“What we do know is that under these reforms, thousands of innocent New Yorkers should now be able to remain in their homes, with their families, and part of their communities, instead of being locked up awaiting trial on a misdemeanor or a low-level felony. These reforms create a path to bring down New York’s high incarceration rates and to address racial disparities in the criminal system. We must not return to a regime where far too many legally innocent New Yorkers, particularly Black and brown New Yorkers, are warehoused in jails. 
 
“Retreat would be a mistake and a disservice to Black and Latinx New Yorkers who have seen far too many friends and family locked up for weeks, months, even years simply because they could not afford their way out of jail on bail. As we celebrate Black History month, we urge our legislators to reflect on the policies that have led to mass incarceration. They must resist pressure to revert to policies that have led to the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers of color who are presumed innocent. New York cannot afford to go backward in the fight for equal justice.”
 

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