Criminal Justice Reform

 

Did you know the incarceration rate of the United States of America is the highest in the world at 716 per 100,000 of the national population. While the United States represents about 4.4 percent of the world's population, it houses around 22 percent of the world's prisoners. We must eradicate our practice of having more people in jail than any other country on earth.

 

 

The bigger issues of mass incarceration as a whole disproportionately represents and affects people of color .The bail bond industry really operates like pay day loans charging illegal fees and taking peoples homes and cars as collateral. It’s the sentencing before the trial. 

In January 2020, New York joined a growing number of states that have restricted the money bail system to limit the number of people who are in jail solely because they can’t afford to pay their way out. The  new law automatically releases people charged with most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies without making them post cash bail.

 

Prior to the passage of the law, low-level defendants were routinely held in jail simply because they could not afford bail, not because their release posed a risk to society. This reflexive use of money bail tore families apart, ruined lives, wasted millions of taxpayer dollars, and ultimately made New Yorkers less safe.

 

The old system led to the incarceration of thousands of poor, low-risk New Yorkers—all legally presumed innocent—until their cases were resolved, which could take months or years. A 2016 analysis in New York City showed that 43 percent of those charged with misdemeanors remained in jail until the end of their case, including 40 percent whose bail was set at $500 or less. Research has shown that defendants detained for the entire pretrial period are more likely to be sentenced to jail or prison and for longer periods of time compared with defendants who are released to fight their cases from outside jail.

New York is one of only two states in the country that treats 16- and 17-year-olds like adults in its criminal justice system. New York is also one of only four states where children as young as seven face prosecution in juvenile courts. Each year, 4,700 young people are sentenced to time in adult prisons and jails; 16- and 17-year olds are all processed in adult criminal court instead of family court no matter how serious the offense.

 

As city councilwoman Zuri will work tirelessly to end money bail and stop the corruption of the bail bond industry. 

 

  • Support the, “No Money Bail Act of 2018’” to end the practice of keeping people in jail because they're too poor to afford cash bail.Transform the way we police communities by legalizing marijuana and expunging past related convictions. 

  • Advocate for  children who interact with the justice system to be treated as children.

  • Advocate to reverse the criminalization of addiction, poverty and mental illness.

  • Advocate for ladder of referral that provides funding for more assessable  culturally sensitive psychiatric  evaluation centers  for our communities to  handle mental health emergencies, homelessness, maintenance violations, and other low-level situations, opposed to relying on police to handle these matters. 

  • Eradicate ethnic disparities of access to culturally appropriate mental health care. 

  • Incentivize access to counseling and mental health services for our youth and community members. 

  • Advocate for mandated TCIS (Therapeutic Crisis intervention) training for all police that emphasize de-escalation.

  • Advocate to mandate and fund police officer training on implicit bias (to include biases based on race, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion, ethnicity and class), cultural competency, de-escalation, crisis intervention, adolescent development, and how to interact with people with mental and physical disabilities. We will ensure that training that provides all participants on what this look like in practice.

  • Advocate for funding for resources to bolster pretrial infrastructure. Propose legislation that is preventative to stops future entry into the criminal justice system following police contact by providing the individual with a case manager and peer mentor and access within two days to treatment that will reduce criminogenic (criminal) behavior.

Let’s fight to make  New York’s pretrial system one that relies on facts instead of fear.