09.10.2019 Criminal Justice
Data Collaborative for Justice: New Study Estimates the Impact of Bail Reform in New York City
New York – If New York State bail reforms, which are set to take effect January 1, 2020, were in place in 2018, approximately 20,000 additional New York City cases would have resulted in release without bail and approximately $200 million in bail that was set in these cases would have been avoided. Had the bail reforms been in place between 2005 and 2018, more than a half million New York City cases would not have been subject to bail. This according to a new research brief by the Data Collaborative for Justice (@DCJ_jjay) at John Jay College, “Assessing Potential Impacts of 2020 Bail Reforms in New York City.”
“Our goal with this study is to remove some of the uncertainty from the coming bail reforms,” said Preeti Chauhan, Director of the Data Collaborative for Justice (DCJ). “No one knows exactly how many people will be affected, but by looking back at 2018 and then going all the way back to 2005, we can develop a baseline to set general expectations.”
DCJ’s research brief applies the bail reforms, which are scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2020, to 2018 court data to assess how pretrial release outcomes would have been different in New York City as a whole and by borough. DCJ found that, had the upcoming bail reforms been effective in 2018, citywide, 90.7% of cases (125,510 cases) would have resulted in release without bail – an increase from 76% of cases that actually resulted in release without bail in 2018. This means that in approximately 20,000 additional cases, defendants would have been released without bail, had the bail reforms been in place in 2018.
In 2018, Manhattan would have seen the biggest change in the proportion of cases released without bail – an additional 19.4% of cases (6,748 cases) would have resulted in release without bail for a borough total of 91.3% cases released without bail. Brooklyn cases would have been least impacted – an additional 11.1% of cases (4,360 cases) would have been released without bail for a borough total of 89.8% cases released without bail.
“DCJ’s research brief helps us understand how New York State’s new bail reforms, once implemented, could impact thousands of New York City residents,” said Jeremy Travis, Executive Vice President of Criminal Justice at Arnold Ventures. “Arnold Ventures is pleased to support DCJ’s critical role in producing relevant data that should serve as the basis for public discussions regarding the reforms.”
Another major impact of the bail reform legislation will be the dollar savings to people who will now be released without bail. In 2018, the cases that would no longer result in bail added up to almost $192 million dollars. Manhattan accounted for the largest sum of $86 million, while Staten Island account for the smallest sum of $10 million.
“The Courts are pleased that DCJ is using our data to educate the public about how bail reforms will reshape the criminal process for thousands of people a year,” said Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts, the Honorable Lawrence K. Marks. “Our partnership with DCJ will ensure the public can continue to track and monitor the impacts of bail reform on people and communities across New York State as well as the operations of the courts.”
“DCJ’s research brief highlights how the number of people jailed pretrial could be significantly reduced once judges no longer have the power to detain or set bail on people charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies,” said Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. “Over the past five years, New York City has implemented carefully crafted and intentional strategies that have reduced the jail population by more than 35% – all while achieving record lows in crime. The bail reforms that will go into effect in 2020 carry with them many unknowns, and as we prepare for implementation, the city will continue to be vigilant about balancing safety and fairness.”
“DCJ’s new research brief demonstrates how upcoming bail reforms will relieve thousands of people and their families of the significant financial and emotional burdens that go along with pretrial detention and money bail,” said Olive Lu, Research Analyst at the Data Collaborative for Justice and lead author of the research brief. “Once the bail reforms are implemented, DCJ will publish additional research to show how many individuals are actually released as a result of the reforms.”