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Some facts about New York's bail reform law

Jan 13, 2020 12:45 am
Douglass Dowty with Syracuse.com breaks down many actual facts about how the New York State's new bail reform laws have had an impact in Onondaga County. There are about 100 fewer inmates in jail there now due to the law, then last year, a 20 percent decrease. Officials started making reforms before the law took effect Jan. 1, as the county jail population there fell from 558 inmates on Jan. 2, 2019 to 452 on Nov 2, 2019, with 402 jailed there as of Jan. 7, according to sheriff’s records. Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway would not comment on the drop in inmates. But there are indications police are not arresting people for minor infractions. "Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said he hadn’t seen the numbers yet, but confirmed that a drop in numbers of people taken to jail in the first place could “very well” be the cause," Dowty writes. The state’s new bail reform law mandates the immediate release of anyone arrested on a violation or misdemeanor, or anyone charged with non-violent felonies. Previously, anyone arrested for those same offences with enough money to post bail were also released. So the only people now released from jail are poorer folks, as people with means charged with the same crimes could usually post bail. That also explains why there are fewer people in jail now, as people with means would be in jail for a very short time, while people without means, who are now being released, were held for much longer periods of time. Read more about this story at Syracuse.com.