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Greene Co. panel considers bail fund

Dec 05, 2017 7:15 am

Daniel Zuckerman is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media the Greene County Legislature's Alternatives to Incarceration Sub-committee is weighing the possibility of creating a bail fund on the heels of the public launch of the Columbia County Bail Fund on December 3. There have been telephone calls and a meeting was held about establishing a similar organization, said Legislator Lori Torgersen, Democrat of Windham. Torgersen is the chair of the ATI Sub-committee. Some sub-committee members have spoken with attorney Daniel Arshack of New York about the idea, she said. Arshack is an expert in bail issues. In Greene County every year, he said, hundreds of people are held on bail of less than $2,000 for offenses such as shoplifting and marijuana possession, and may have to wait hundreds of days in jail before their cases are heard. And county taxpayers are paying as much as $170 daily to keep people in jail. A community bail fund could save the county money and reduce the jail population. “There are bail funds popping up all over the state,” Arshack said. “The purpose is the same everywhere — poor people shouldn’t be penalized for being poor.” If the Greene County project moves forward, the ATI sub-committee would use the Columbia County fund as a model. “Any kind of criminal justice reform work is good work,” Torgersen said. “We are thrilled to see some steps being taken in Greene County.” Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.

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