To the editor:
It really is time to call “BS” on the Republican efforts (drawing in some wobblykneed Dems) to repeal or change the new bail laws. Beginning last April when the laws were passed, upstate sheriffs and some local police agencies, along with some DA’s, mounted a public relations campaign of fearmongering — predicting that the hordes of people arrested, most for misdemeanor offenses, and released would start to commit more, and more violent crimes. There was as a lot of misinformation — no, sexual predators are not being released and are still subject to cash bail — being spread. Upstate county legislatures were recruited to pass resolutions opposed to bail reform. “Catch and release and catch and release again” is how some put it. Sheriffs complained that their deputies would have to chase all over the state to get people who failed to appear for court to answer the charges against them.
So, where is this tidal wave of crime being committed by those released on Jan. 1 or issued appearance tickets after that?
Let’s remember that in the years before 2020, some people released after arrest — some on bail — went out and committed new and sometime more serious crimes — so don’t be surpised when it happens in 2020. And about 10% of those released, some on bail, failed to return to court at some point. So it will happen again — just likely less frequently since courts must now send out reminders — just like your doctor, haircutter or car repair shop.
Not one study has ever been produced to validate the concerns about the dangers of bail reform — not one. But there are studies that show that a person charged with a minor offense who spends as little as 3 days in jail before release has an increased likelihood of committing another crime. (Still, for those released on Jan. 1, that hasn’t happened).
Nearly a month into bail reform, where is the crime wave? Why haven’t those people who were released, or issued DAT’s started to commit the massive numbers of new and more serious crimes bail reform opponents claimed they will? Without the fear of jail upon arrest shouldn’t they be having a field day by now? How many thousands have been released across the state, without futher incident?
Time to call it what it is, political BS.
Greg D. Lubow