LETTER: NY state bail reform levels the playing field

Daily Freeman-1 year before

The comments made by Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra (GUEST COLUMN: "New York's new bail reform law irresponsible, puts communities at risk") are false and harmful to the community’s perception of the state's new bail reform law.

GUEST COLUMN: "New York's new bail...reform law irresponsible, puts communities at risk" For decades, New York has denied access to a fair and speedy trial for thousands of people of color and from low-income communities. Race and class have determined whether New Yorkers have access to freedom for far too long.

Money bail is only beneficial to people who have the means to defend their cases from the outside, while low-income or homeless people have to fight for their freedom from a cell without adequate access to resources. New York’s bail reform law will make sure everyone across the state, regardless of race or class, has a fair chance at freedom.

Now it’s time for prosecutors to be held accountable for their role in withholding evidence and prolonging trials. The only option for legally innocent people — who wait in jail for months and even years before trial — is to accept a plea deal, whether they’re guilty or not, in 95% of cases. That will change when the bail reform law goes into effect in January.

Prosecutors must focus on winning justice, not convictions. Let's work together to make sure every New Yorker, not just the wealthy, has access to a justice system that is fair and transparent.

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