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City Officials Fear Mass Bailout At Rikers Could Endanger Crime Victims

LaFaraona

Well-Known Member
I personally applaud the effort of the Human Rights Organization.


City officials and prosecutors have raised objections to a plan to bail out 500 women and teenagers from Rikers Island, suggesting that it could endanger crime victims and witnesses.CreditCreditJohnny Milano for The New York Times


City officials are scrambling to prepare for a human rights organization’smass effort to bail out 500 women and teenagers from the Rikers Island jail complex, despite strong resistance from the police and prosecutors.

Across the city, prosecutors are identifying cases that might be affected by the bailout, and calling hundreds of crime victims and witnesses in those cases to let them know that defendants who they thought were in custody might soon be released on bail.

Prosecutors in the Bronx said they were working to safeguard as many people who might be vulnerable through measures like orders of protection.

“We are doing all we can to protect our victims and witnesses in the event the defendants accused of violence against them are released from jail,” Darcel D. Clark, the Bronx district attorney, said in a statement.

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, says the plan, which organizers believe could be one of the largest so-called mass bailouts in the country, will move forward despite the city’s concerns.


The bailout is designed to support an end to cash bail, which activists say discriminates against minorities and the poor, and to push the city to close the dangerous Rikers jail complex more quickly than the current 10-year timeline. Approximately 87 percent of the jail population is black and Latino.

“What they’re really saying is they are concerned about poor people accused of crimes because there are no rich people currently accused of crimes caged on Rikers Island,” Ms. Kennedy said in an interview. “Just look how the system treats people like Harvey Weinstein. Eighty women said they were attacked by one guy, and he got bail and he never spent a second on Rikers.

The plan may expand to include prisoners who turned 18 while on Rikers, according to the group. The organization will also connect those who are bailed out with appropriate social services.

The purpose of bail, according to New York State law, is to ensure a defendant’s return to court. Judges can, under limited circumstances, remand defendants without bail. Judges are supposed to consider a defendant’s ability to pay bail in their decision but that seldom happens, according to criminal defense lawyers.

Roughly 80 percent of the Rikers population is awaiting trial; more than 75 percent of them are eventually released without being sentenced to prison.

“I don’t think anyone should be locked up solely because they can’t afford to buy their freedom but that’s what happens to blacks and Latinos living in certain communities while the privileged, often charged with far worse crimes, are walking free,” said Scott Hechinger, senior staff attorney and the director of policy at Brooklyn Defender Services, which represents more than 30,000 people arrested each year in Brooklyn.

Mr. Hechinger cited a client represented by Brooklyn Defender Services who has been held since June on $750 bail for allegedly stealing multiple pairs of shoes. Because the woman was accused of entering the vestibule of an apartment building to steal the shoes, the crime she is charged with is technically considered a violent felony.

A 2017 study from the Vera Institute of Justice tracked 99 cases in which unsecured bail or partially secured bond was granted, and 54 percent of cases included defendants charged with a felony. The study found that 88 percent of defendants returned to court; only 8 percent were arrested pretrial on another felony charge.

“There is this misconception that people who are on Rikers need to be there because if they are let out, the streets will run with blood,” Mr. Hechinger said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and some district attorneys say they favor bail reform, but believe the mass bailout should only be for people charged with low-level offenses. Kennedy officials said they will consider all bail-eligible women and teenagers regardless of the crime they are charged with.


Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the district attorney of Manhattan, said “there are certain individuals detained on Manhattan cases who, if released without a court-reviewed, predetermined supervised release and safety plan, are flight risks and may pose a public safety risk to the community.”

Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said he was concerned about witness intimidation and retaliation.

Some City Council members called the positions of Mr. de Blasio and the city’s law enforcement officials hypocritical. Rory I. Lancman, a Queens councilman, said because there are protocols in place that allow judges to keep those who are a danger to others in custody, the bailout “is brilliantly exposing the fallacy of our bail system.”

Ritchie Torres, a Bronx councilman, said the debate reminds him of the fear of a crime wave that took place when activists began calling for an end to the police practice of stop and frisk.

“Allowing people who have neither been tried or convicted to languish in jail violates the spirit of the Constitution,” Mr. Torres said. “Pretrial incarceration has become the penalty for poverty, for mental illness and for blackness.”
 

fluffyforever

Well-Known Member
I support this. Innocent until proven guilty, people shouldn't be locked up spending months and months in jail only to wait for a hearing. Especially for nonviolent crimes. People lose jobs and time with their families. I don't even want to think about the truly innocent ones that have to be subjected to Rikers because of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
 

nysister

Well-Known Member
What about the rights of those they affected?

If someone stole from me, even if it wasn't at gunpoint, they would have taken something from me. The feeling of safety in certain situations. If a crime was actually committed and this isn't a case of false imprisonment, this should be done cautiously. A minor criminal if nothing else is still a bad influence to the impressionable of those they are around.
 

Reinventing21

Spreading my wings
I agree with you both, but the conumdrum is the fact they are saying there are no whites on Rikers even thiugh they have committed equally offensive and more offensive crimes tha the minorities held on Rikers. I do not know for sure if the bailout is the perfect solution, but something needs to be done to address this huge inequity.

I can't help but wonder though if there is an ulterior motive though...
 

fluffyforever

Well-Known Member
What about the rights of those they affected?

If someone stole from me, even if it wasn't at gunpoint, they would have taken something from me. The feeling of safety in certain situations. If a crime was actually committed and this isn't a case of false imprisonment, this should be done cautiously. A minor criminal if nothing else is still a bad influence to the impressionable of those they are around.
The criminals will be punished after being sentenced. If people want criminals to serve right away then society needs to find a way to speed up the trial and sentencing process.
 

HappilyLiberal

Well-Known Member
I am sick of criminals. Yes, they need to speed up trial dates. However, the wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time is just an excuse. My mom and teachers drummed into our heads early that people will judge you by the company you keep. I managed to make it to fifty without being "at the wrong place at the wrong time." All of my first cousin's except one (who are all older than me with the exceptions of one--not the criminal) managed to make it through life without being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The one who was at the wrong place at the wrong time is a habitual criminal. Including me we are talking about 8 on my mom's side and 12 + on my dad's side--and that's just the first cousins.

These miscreants are tearing our communities apart. Let them rot.

I just had this argument with my office mate just this morning. She talking to me about the unfairness of some dude getting a 20-year sentence for stealing $600 worth of cigarettes; then got mad when I asked her how many other arrests and convictions he had. I had to bite my tongue because I came very close to telling her that her attitude explains a great deal about how her son ended up dead at 27.
 

Kanky

Well-Known Member
The criminals will be punished after being sentenced. If people want criminals to serve right away then society needs to find a way to speed up the trial and sentencing process.
This! People are innocent until proven guilty and should not lose their freedom and potentially their jobs, homes, cars and everything else without being proven guilty first. This country has a long history of criminalizing innocent black people. I no longer assume that a black person arrested for something probably guilty as the police have been shown to be a gang of lying criminals themselves. They are right now looking for a way to criminalize an innocent black man shot in his apartment. Had Sandra Bland been released immediately after her false arrest she would likely still be alive.

Not to mention all of the BBQ Beckies and Parking Permit Patties out there. If the police who show up decide to behave like the gang of police thugs that attacked and arrested Sterling Brown for parking in a handicap space then just about anyone can be beaten and arrested at any time. Of course poor people, non famous people won’t be able to get enough media attention to have the situation resolved quickly and fairly.
 
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fluffyforever

Well-Known Member
I am sick of criminals. Yes, they need to speed up trial dates. However, the wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time is just an excuse. My mom and teachers drummed into our heads early that people will judge you by the company you keep. I managed to make it to fifty without being "at the wrong place at the wrong time." All of my first cousin's except one (who are all older than me with the exceptions of one--not the criminal) managed to make it through life without being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The one who was at the wrong place at the wrong time is a habitual criminal. Including me we are talking about 8 on my mom's side and 12 + on my dad's side--and that's just the first cousins.

These miscreants are tearing our communities apart. Let them rot.

I just had this argument with my office mate just this morning. She talking to me about the unfairness of some dude getting a 20-year sentence for stealing $600 worth of cigarettes; then got mad when I asked her how many other arrests and convictions he had. I had to bite my tongue because I came very close to telling her that her attitude explains a great deal about how her son ended up dead at 27.
When you are black, it is very easy to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. I have been stopped by the police doing every day normal things many times and I'm lucky the cops didn't have a bad enough attitude to take me to jail over some hidden agenda. After being harassed because I didn't have my ID on me while power walking around my own neighborhood holding weights and after being pulled over and accused of stealing gas even though we paid at the pump and then went inside the station and bought food and drinks at a gas station, I learned how easy it is to find yourself at the wrong place at the wrong time. And that's only 2 of my many personal experiences that left me shook and thankful. There's nothing criminally habitual about it when you are a default target because of your skin color.

I'm not saying it is always the true case, but it happened enough to me and my family that I can believe someone when they say "wrong place wrong time".
 

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formerly known as "keyawarren"
What about the rights of those they affected?

If someone stole from me, even if it wasn't at gunpoint, they would have taken something from me. The feeling of safety in certain situations. If a crime was actually committed and this isn't a case of false imprisonment, this should be done cautiously. A minor criminal if nothing else is still a bad influence to the impressionable of those they are around.

I agree with you, but even if someone committed a petty crime against me (ie, stealing a small amount from my purse), I still don't think they deserve to rot in Riker's.
 
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