New York Democrats cite ‘gaps’ in bail crime statistics as reason they won’t change
ALBANY — Repeat offenders are wreaking havoc in New York and elsewhere, but Democrats say a lack of reliable statistics makes any clear analysis of their criminal justice reforms almost four years ago difficult.
And that, they said at Monday’s hearing, makes it impossible to roll back any of their reforms, which have been criticized as soft on crime.
“There are worrying gaps that sometimes make it difficult to get an accurate picture of what’s going on in the criminal justice system,” NYPD Chief Jeff Maddrey told state lawmakers.
“Analyzing crime data is a complex topic, but I think we can all agree that the more data we have, the better for us,” he added.
In addition to the Catch-22 nature of it all, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and Assembly Speaker Carl Histie (D-Bronx) scheduled a hearing after repeatedly saying they would only support changes that are backed by solid data.
Such concerns hinder efforts to curtail a number of reforms championed by Albany’s left-wing Democrats in recent years, such as controversial limits on cash bail and heightened disclosure requirements that even liberal prosecutors, such as Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, blame for an increase in the number of terminated cases from 48. from % to 74% for misdemeanors and from 21% to 35% for criminal offenses in New York.
“Three years after bail reform turned New York’s criminal justice system on its head, we still need better crime data. This has become painfully clear after today’s hearing,” Assembly Minority Leader William Barclay (R-Fulton) said.
Monday’s hearing comes just days before Gov. Kathy Hochul is due to present a state budget proposal that could include possible changes to existing laws accused of fueling an increase in crime.
Some Republicans on Monday expressed annoyance that the hearings showed such a standard has been so difficult to meet nearly four years after many of the changes were first approved by the Democratic-dominated Senate and State Assembly.
“The year is 2023. How do we not know what the reason for the dismissal was and how it was not taken into account in the documents in the actual data? This was reported to The Post by Assemblyman Michael Tannusis (R-Brooklyn-Staten Island).
“These are the things you need to pay close attention to. If we rely on [data] To decide whether we will make policy changes, they must be finalized.”
It’s also not the first time government officials have faced the challenge of collecting data.
Last year, court officials had to go back and collect data from 2019 after The Post pointed out that the state was unable to get baseline data before the reforms to see if the changes had any effect.
Republican lawmakers also emphasized that recidivism statistics only count the number of people charged with another crime, not the total number of alleged crimes, which could downplay their disproportionate role against a relatively small group of people in the increase in crime.
“Unfortunately, the data is exhaustive, but incomplete. We lack information about pending cases, the Family Court’s workload, and details about re-arrested offenders,” State Senator Anthony Palumbo (R-Suffolk) told The Post.
“Unfortunately, despite the huge increase in crime that we have seen in 2022, I am afraid that progressives will mix up the statistics to prove that their policies are not responsible, however we are in a crime crisis and 93% of New Yorkers agree with this. to me.”
The estimated number of crimes outside of New York could also be artificially low given that the state only collects statistics after people are fingerprinted, potentially leaving out suspects who are issued so-called turnout tickets and never show up in court.
A range of offenses involving persons under 18 years of age – from shootings to misdemeanors – are also not included in government data under the so-called Raising Age Act, which refers many such cases to family court.
“Going to family court usually results in the defendant being returned to the very community that got him down this path in the first place,” Tony Jordan, president of the New York State District Attorneys Association, said at the hearing.
The hearing revealed that the lack of reliable data is the board on which the Democrats who control the Albany legislature are willing to stand to prevent any change in the cashless bail and disclosure arguments.
“We have made targeted data-driven changes to our justice system. These changes were thoughtful through the use of legislative hearings like this one,” Jamaal Bailey, D-Bronx, chairman of the Senate Codes Committee, said at the hearing. “We take great pride in making data-driven decisions and not decisions based on speculation or sensationalism—data-driven decisions.”
Assemblyman Latrice Walker (D-Brooklyn) said, “I have a little time to reconcile these burning houses with thoughts of retail crime in our city…we saw you want us to change the law based on 1,700 people when there are 20 million here in New York State.”
But Republicans say that while more statistics are needed to understand the relationship between reforms and rising crime, the truth is somewhere out there.
“Law enforcement professionals continue to sound the alarm and ask Albany to help mitigate the crime crisis,” Barclay said.
“What we’ve heard today is further proof that bail reform was a terrible bill in 2019 and hasn’t gotten better over the years.”
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