NY Bail Reform Causing Prisoner Releases
By Edie Johnson
Under the Governor’s new bail laws, individuals accused of misdemeanors and non-violent felonies will be released on their own recognizance at arraignment. The changes are prompting Sheriff’s Offices across the state to prepare to release hundreds of inmates being held on bail. Since the first of December, twenty-seven prisoners have already been released from the Orange County Correctional Facility following their appearances before the courts managing their cases. The facility currently has over two hundred unsentenced prisoners and anticipates releasing approximately 150 additional prisoners through the end of December. Sheriff Carl E. DuBois stated, “As the judges comply with the bail changes, we anticipate the release of prisoners to spread over the next four weeks until January 1.”
District Attorney David M. Hoovler added, “My office is collaborating with the Sheriff’s Office and the courts involved for the implementation of these reforms.” Many of those released will be picked up by friends or loved ones, while others may be provided transportation at no expense.
Area towns have expressed concerns over the growing side effects of these reforms which include a potential 20% increase in town police budgets. Paperwork because of new criminal processing regulations will, local police said, bring officers off the streets to spend extra time on voluminous paper processing, while the costs of upgrading and synchronizing all the municipal and county computer systems become an increasingly great financial hardship.
Several officials countered that they agree delays have caused some charged individuals to be held longer than they should, going to the opposite extreme is unwise.
There has been significant pushback to NY State Legislature to pull back on the extent of these new bail reform laws.