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Advocates seeks to combat ‘misinformation’ in bail reform debate

Supporters of New York’s bail reform laws are addressing criticism, saying the legislation is working as intended. Still, Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike say changes are needed.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams is one Democrat who has called for changes to the law, although top Democrats in the state Legislature have said they won’t adjust their position, according to NY State of Politics.

“I just think [that as] the political pressure continues to build, ultimately some of these legislators will have to decide whether to get re-elected or make some common sense changes to this law,” said Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay.

Barclay also stated that officials should speak with law enforcement officials to gauge their concerns and plan how to move forward. Proponent of the bail reform laws are pushing back, saying the situation is less dire than some claim.

“We’ve seen a concerted campaign of misinformation around what bail reform and discovery reform actually do,” said MK Kaishian, a civil rights attorney with the public policy advocacy organization Zealous.

Court data has shown only 2% of people who have been released after arrest have been arrested again for a violent crime.

“Arrests alone are not actually proof of guilt,” continued Kaishian. “It’s an allegation made by the police so of those 2% even fewer involve allegations of actual harm and fewer than that involve actual dispensation of actual guilt in a case.”

Kaishian is part of a project launching next week that is aimed at combatting the misconceptions around bail reform legislation.