Bail Reform Arrives in New York City

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A sign of Rikers Island, where IMF head
Photo: JEWEL SAMAD/2011 AFP

In the aftermath of Kalief Browder’s suicide, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to reform New York City’s bail system. Today he’ll make good on that promise by announcing plans to eliminate bail for low-level and nonviolent offenders. The new system, which aims to reduce the burden of bail on the poor and keep people out of Rikers Island, will replace bail for certain offenders with “daily check-ins, text-message reminders and required drug or behavioral therapy,” according to the AP. The $18 million program will allow 3,000 defendants to avoid bail and remain at home while the courts deal with their cases. “We want to focus on risk to be the determining factor to decide if someone will be in or out; and it has to be risk, not money,” Elizabeth Glazer, head of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, told the AP.