The goal was compassion and fairness, but the outcome is more crime.
Following a new law, New York City recently started releasing most people accused of crimes without requiring bail. The goal is to recognize that bail favors those with assets, which can leave people accused of even small crimes, whether convicted or not, sitting in jail for months waiting on a trial.
The new approach means almost everyone accuse of a crime immediately gets back on the street and is able to resume their lives, going to work, going to school, supporting their families, and, for some, committing more crimes. The number of major crimes committed in New York City in February climbed 22.5% over last year.
During the first 58 days of 2020, 482 people who had already been arrested for committing a felony such as robbery or burglary were then rearrested for committing an additional 846 crimes.
Thirty-five percent, or 299, of those were for arrests in seven major crime categories – murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny, and grand larceny auto.
Officials say that all of the suspects that were arrested would have usually ended up in jail prior to new bail reform laws.
The amount is triple that of those committed in the same 58 days in 2019.
The New York City Police Department said in a press release:
“Criminal justice reforms serve as a significant reason New York City has seen this uptick in crime.”
The bail reform stemmed from a case in which a young man was accused of stealing a back pack, but didn’t have money for bail. He spent three years in jail awaiting a trial, which never came. He was eventually released, then committed suicide.
Perhaps instead of letting all suspects go, they could give judges more leeway in setting bail, and then improve and increase the court system to eliminate the backlog of court cases.