A coalition of immigrant rights legal defense and community organizations called on New York Governor Kathy Hochul Monday not to make changes to the state’s bail law because it would send more people to prison awaiting trial. which would especially affect black Latinos and immigrants.
Thirty groups joined their voices to point out to Hochul that the current law, which eliminated bail for defendants charged with nonviolent crimes until trial, helps keep families together and avoids the risks of immigration enforcement.
The governor sent a proposal to the state legislature to add more crimes to which bail can be applied and allow judges to consider the “dangerousness” of a defendant and thus have the power to decide whether to impose bail, which has been criticized by activists and legal defense groups.
The mayor of New York, Eric Adams, a former police captain, agrees to make changes to the law as a mechanism to deal with the uptick in gun violence affecting the city, in order to send to jail to a greater number of petty criminals.
Republicans and other conservatives attribute the rise in violence to the current law, which they consider lax after its latest reform. A recent report by the city’s public prosecutor refuted that argument, noting that there have been fewer arrests of people who have committed a crime while on release awaiting trial.
In the letter to Hochul, the groups explain to the governor that her proposal would bring back provisional incarceration, which would have a negative impact on immigrants, according to a joint statement.
They also indicate to Hochul that his intention to change the law that increased the age to be tried as an adult from 16 to 18 is “inadmissible and ineffective” when it comes to protecting young people from violence.
“Instead of putting more New Yorkers behind bars, New York should invest in real solutions for community safety, like jobs programs, investing in neighborhoods, access to health care and housing, which have been shown to reduce the violence and crime,” they say. EFE