New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has developed a new plan get teens out of jail without bail, but as CBS2 asks, “Is he pandering for votes or needed bail reform?”
De Blasio wants city judges to release teenagers and some adults without bail while they await trial. This would include those charged with violent crimes such as armed robbery and assault.
“First of all, we’ve had so many people languish in jail because they couldn’t afford bail and that was unfair,” de Blasio said, according to CBS2. “We’ve had mass incarceration that was harmful to the whole society.”
Mass incarceration is a problem, but is it really safe to let so many out on bail without a case-by-case analysis?
Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said on Tuesday in response to de Blasio’s plan, “Pandering for votes during his quest for the presidency, Mayor de Blasio seems to be hellbent on the destruction of civilized society in NYC,” according to The New York Post.
“Releasing teens who have committed armed robberies or serious assaults flies in the face of every police officer working to fight crime. We risk our lives to protect the citizens of the city while pandering politicians do everything possible to fight our success,” Lynch said.
“‘Progress’ like this will doom this city and crash its economy by making our streets dangerous once again,” he added.
New York Police Department Commissioner James O’Neill also spoke out against de Blasio’s plan, saying that a state bail reform law needed to be fixed to allow judges to set bail for people “who represent a danger to others.” Further, O’Neill, according to CBS2, said ending bail for so many additional people “will make the work of disrupting criminals and deterring crime much more difficult.”
CBS2 reported that de Blasio agreed with O’Neill, saying, “There are so many people who are not a threat who should not be held simply because they can’t afford the bail and there are other people who could be a threat.”
Still, de Blasio defended his new policy, saying he wants he wants young people “redeemed – not just locked up.”
The mayor’s new policy goes into effect on Saturday, and is supposed to triple the number of teens released without bail.
“An expansion of the Supervised Release Program will allow defendants aged between 16 and 19 to qualify for the program’s Youth Engagement Track — which had been capped at age 17 — and broaden eligible charges to include first- and second-degree robbery, assault and burglary,” The Post reported.
As for pandering, it seems to be a bit of a stretch. It might appeal to 18- and 19-year-olds who get arrested between the time the law goes into effect and the New York primary. That primary might be pushed back to late April of 2020, which might be a “late prize,” as The New York Times claimed, for an extended Democrat primary contest.
Other than that, it doesn’t seem like it could be that attractive to many people, outside of those who are considering committing crimes and who want to vote (is that a large contingency?”
Still, there are certainly reforms that need to be made in the criminal justice system. With some limitation, de Blasio’s plan isn’t so bad.