We broadcasted live from the Restorative Justice and Community Empowerment Center for our Human Rights Day rally to celebrate the historic state-wide pretrial reforms set to go into effect on January 1, 2020.
We joined a coalition of organizations across the state to highlight the overwhelming support for these reforms despite fearmongering from District Attorneys. Our speakers included:
- Callie Jayne, Executive Director of Rise Up Kingston
- Takia Mitchell, member of Citizen Action of New York
- Shannon Wong, Director of the Hudson Valley Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union
- Reverend Joy Macvane, Clinton Avenue United Methodist Church
- Shawn Pettway, board member of Rise Up Kingston
- In 2018, over 22,000 New Yorkers languished in jail each night. Nearly 70% were awaiting trial - they had not been convicted, but were behind bars because they could not afford bail. Research shows that cash bail disproportionately affects Black, Latinx, and low-income New Yorkers and destabilizes families and communities. A person who is unable to afford bail is subject to pretrial detention and risks losing their job, housing, and custody of their children. A stay in jail can also cause trauma and exacerbate existing mental health and medical conditions.
- This system violated the presumption of innocence, criminalized low-income people, and led to the coercion of plea deals. It also disproportionately impacted Black and Latinx communities.
- In 2020, because of bail and discovery reform, many fewer people will be subject to the injustice of money bail and pretrial jailing. In addition, New Yorkers will have access to the evidence in their case as prosecutors will be required to turn over all evidence 15 days after arraignment and prior to any plea deal.