Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) joined fellow members of the ‘Repeal Bail Reform Task Force’ in the second in a series of statewide roundtable events aimed at highlighting the impact the drastic changes in criminal justice laws are having on local communities. Held in Poughkeepsie, the roundtable brought together members of law enforcement, victims’ advocates, first responders, and local government officials to share their experiences in grappling with the new measures.
“We continue to hear from the law enforcement community, prosecutors and crime victims that the bail reforms imposed earlier this year goes too far,” Senator Gallivan said. “I recognize the need for responsible criminal justice reforms, but these changes jeopardize the safety of law-abiding citizens and prohibit judges from using their discretion when deciding whether to release a potentially dangerous individual. Public safety must be our first consideration.”
The effect of the reforms was to make 90% of crimes result in mandatory release, including manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, violent assault, and burglary. Not a single public hearing was held before the sweeping changes to the state’s criminal justice system were passed. Additionally, local municipalities, law enforcement, victims’ services agencies and district attorneys were not given any additional funding to implement the new changes.
This roundtable comes on the heels of a major announcement by the NYPD who found that major crime is up 22.5% this February in New York City compared to a year ago. At a press conference where the statistics were released, speakers—including Mayor Bill de Blasio—acknowledged that the crime spike is directly correlated to the changes in state law. At Monday’s roundtable, District Attorney Association of New York (DAASNY) President and Orange County DA, David Hoovler, brought the point home by highlighting statistics from the Hudson Valley. He noted that compared to 2019, the cities of Kingston, Middletown, Newburgh, and Poughkeepsie have collectively seen a 79% increase in motor vehicle thefts, 48% increase in aggravated assaults, and a 42% increase in robberies since the start of the year.
The ‘Repeal Bail Reform Task Force is chaired by Senator George Borrello and co-chaired by Senators Gallivan and Sue Serino. It was created in response to the overwhelming public outcry against the new law, which was forced through the budget process last year.
“When these new measures were jammed through last year’s state budget, the voices of law enforcement, victims’ advocates, and first responders—those who work to keep our communities safe—were ignored,” said Senator Serino. “As Albany continues to negotiate behind closed doors on this critical topic, this event was an important opportunity for those on the front lines to make their concerns known. Public safety must always be our top priority, and right now, the state is failing on this front. New York needs to hit the pause button on these new measures, take these concerns seriously and go back to the drawing board.”
“More than two months have passed since the reckless bail reform changes took effect in New York. In that time, the toll on our state’s public safety, crime victims and law enforcement communities has continued to escalate,” said Senator Borrello. “Every day that passes without action on this issue is another lost opportunity to stem the flow of criminals that judges are being forced to release onto our streets, against their better judgment and all commonsense. It is imperative that we listen to those on the front lines of our criminal justice system whose voices were ignored when this irresponsible legislation was passed last year. Their voices must be heard.”
The first roundtable event was held in Buffalo in February. Additional Task Force hearings will be scheduled and announced shortly for Long Island and Syracuse.