NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An attempt has been launched to end cash bail in New York state, with opponents saying it unfairly discriminates against the poor who get locked up when they cannot pay.
As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, opponents said cash bail can also free violent offenders because the can pay.
The current system makes the presumption of innocence a joke, critics said. They say too many people are locked up for minor offenses because they cannot afford bail.
“Two people who are accused of the same exact crime — one is rich, one is poor. The rich person is walking the street, the poor person is waiting at Rikers Island for trial,” said state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens).
Gianaris wants mostly to eliminate bail. Most people would simply be sent home, while others would have supervised release.
“There would be an officer overseeing their release into the community,” he said. “There would be constant reporting and oversight to make sure that everyone is safe.”
Gianaris said too many lives are unjustly ruined on Rikers Island.