Legal Aid Society


LAS Decries Governor's Regressive Public Safety Plan

The Legal Aid Society is decrying a regressive public safety plan put forth by Governor Kathy Hochul that seeks to undo historic reforms to New York’s pretrial statutes and Raise The Age.

The Governor is the latest politician to cave to fear-mongering and create a false equivalency between these reforms and a rise in violent crime.

Her plan calls for a “dangerousness” provision that would give judges greater discretion in setting bail. But lawyers warn that such provisions are discriminatory and will inevitably result in over-incarceration.

“Any bail rollback proposal including a ‘dangerousness’ provision will only increase jail populations, disproportionately impacting Black and Brown New Yorkers,” said Marie Ndiaye, Supervising Attorney of the Decarceration Project at The Legal Aid Society.

“The data on bail reform speaks for itself: the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers on pretrial release do not commit new crimes and return for future court appearances,” she continued.

Similarly, Raise The Age, a law that changed the age that a child can be prosecuted as an adult to 18, has not contributed to a spike in gun violence.  It was not until the devastation brought upon by COVID-19, almost two years after the implementation of Raise The Age, that gun offenses began to rise.

The Governor is also calling to roll back Kalief’s Law, legislation directed at ensuring that New Yorkers do not languish in cages during the pendency of their cases, enacted in remembrance of Kalief Browder who spent years at Rikers Island for allegedly stealing a backpack.

“It’s both disappointing and cynical that Governor Hochul, employing the tactics of her predecessor, would unveil this proposal with the budget due in just two weeks, exploiting her advantageous position in the budget making process to strongarm legislators to buy into these regressive rollbacks,” Ndiaye said.

Legal Aid is calling on State lawmakers to reject the Governor’s proposal and protect these historic reforms.