Bail under $1K nearly eliminated in NYC under reforms

New York City has nearly eliminated cash bail below $1,000 as part of the controversial reform laws — with judges in the Big Apple setting the low amounts in only about 300 cases last year.

The measly bail amounts accounted for just over 2% of 13,942 cases where bail was set in 2021 on charges such as drug possession and petit larceny — and were a massive divergence from the years before the 2019 reform enacted by the state.

In 2019, judges set bail at $1,000 or below 4,247 times in 22,332 cases, according to the court data, released by the New York Division of Criminal Justice System on Wednesday.

The data provides the first comprehensive look at the effects of bail reform on crime after The Post reported earlier this year the publicly available figures fell short, with lawmakers in Albany failing to require a collection of baseline data to analyze the possible effects.

“The data available on the [Office of Court Administration] website for anyone to review and analyze has been the primary source of information for the public and has been extensively discussed in the press and among policymakers. However, the data showed an incomplete picture,” said DCJS Commissioner Rossana Rosado in announcing the release.

Rossana Rosado.
“We are looking at apples and oranges when we tried to compare the pre- and post-reform system,” said Rossana Rosado, New York Division of Criminal Justice System commissioner.
Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
Dominique Luzuriaga wife of NYPD Detective Jason Rivera speaks to a crowd of Around 50-75 victims of violence.
Victims of violence gather outside Assemblyman Carl Heastie’s office demanding changes to New York state bail reform laws.
Dennis A. Clark

“It had comprehensive data from 2020 and 2021, the first two years after the reform, but it did not have data from 2019 before the reform, so we are looking at apples and oranges when we tried to compare the pre- and post-reform system.”

A key takeaway revealed in the three years of data was that the reforms had little effect on crime in the Big Apple.

The rate of recidivism for those out on bail within 180 days in New York City dropped slightly each year, with 1,680 people out of 6,911 (24.3%) who had been bailed out getting arrested again in 2019. For the first nine months of 2021, that number was 465 out of 2,397 (19.4%), according to the data released by DCJS.

Meanwhile, out of those statistics, re-arrests for violent offenses also dropped from 335 in 2019 to 198 in 2020 and 147 in the nine-month span of 2021, the data show.

Over those years, judges set higher bail in more cases despite having fewer arraignments.

In 2021, New York City judges set bail at $10,001 or higher in 4,430 cases at arraignment for charges such as gun possession or robbery — an uptick from 3,782 two years earlier despite the courts seeing roughly 5,000 more cases in 2019.

The increased median bail amount set rose from $3,500 in the first quarter of 2019 to $10,000 by the end of 2021.

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