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Local officials and others weigh in on Governor Cuomo’s bail reform plan

As part of his renewed push to reform the criminal justice system, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing to eliminate cash bail for minor offenses.


Some on the law enforcement side said the proposal is not a well thought out plan, but others see it as a way to level the playing field for people accused of minor crimes.

After spending time in prison, Miquel Powell of Rochester has made it his mission to help others just getting out of jail or battling drug addiction.

“When I was incarcerated, I knew I had to use that as an opportunity so that I would never be incarcerated again,” Powell said. “Once I was able to make a successful transition by going to school, graduating from the College at Brockport, I decided to give back.”

Powell is the founder of The Reentry & Community Development Center. Sunday, he was collecting donations for toiletries for those who turn to the non-profit for group support and information on resources.

As a kid, Powell said he was sat in jail for minor offenses, unable to make bail. He said he’s in favor of doing away with cash bail for low level crimes.

“I once sat in jail for 90 days for criminal mischief, a non-violent crime,” he said. “The cash bail system, it was unjust and unfair mostly to people of color who couldn’t afford minimum amounts of bail.”

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