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Law Enforcement Officials Voice Concerns Over New York’s Criminal Justice Changes – CBS New York


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Law enforcement officials are voicing their concerns over New York’s criminal justice reforms.

Starting January 1, the state will eliminate cash bail and pretrial detention for most low-level offenses. Meaning, some accused criminals will be released on their signature.

The changes are meant, in part, to combat over-crowded jails.

“Almost all misdemeanors – except for some sex crimes and domestic violence cases – nonviolent felonies and two violent felonies are no longer eligible for money bail,” John Jay College Director of the Data Collaborative for Justice Dr. Preeti Chauhan told CBSN New York earlier this month.

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The president of the Yonkers police union says the bail reform is well intentioned and some in pretrial detention should be released, but he still has concerns.

“Having more criminals, specifically recidivists – people who commit crimes on a regular basis – out on the streets, available to commit more crimes,” said Keith Olsen.

In New York City, defendants will be reward with perks, such as New York Mets tickets, movie passes and gifts cards, for showing up to court.

“In a world where we want speedier trials and we want the justice system to work, if small incentives are part of what actually makes it work, then that’s a smart policy,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier this month.

MORE: Westchester County Officials Concerned About Bail Reform’s Impact On Local Police, Budget

Police Commissioner James O’Neill, on the other hand, has expressed his reservations.

“We have to make sure there are consequences for criminal behavior,” he said. “Come January 1, we’re a resilient organization, we’ll adapt. But I have real concerns.”

Before the bail reform law takes effect, nearly 900 city residents in jail could be released starting in mid-December.

Another reform in Albany dramatically accelerates the process and timeline for prosecutors to turn over evidence and other information to the defense.

The Richmond County district attorney, acting Queens district attorney and members of the Police Benevolent Association and Drug Enforcement Agency plan to speak out against the changes during a news conference at 10 a.m. today.

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