Time is Running Out to Save Bail Reform

Act Now

Lawmakers are scrambling to cobble together this year’s state budget, which is likely to pass any day now.

In New York, the budget inevitably includes major policy initiatives, and this year legislators are again considering rollbacks to the bail reforms passed in 2019. There are also welcome discussions about two policies: one that would help formerly incarcerated people get back on their feet and another to provide lawyers for people facing eviction.

ADD YOUR NAME: Tell lawmakers to hold the line on bail, knockdown barriers to reentering their communities, and protect people facing eviction.

Message Recipients:
Governor Kathy Hochul
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Your representatives

Hours Left to Save Bail Reform
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Your Message
Use the form to send a message to your legislator.

As you negotiate what will make it into this year’s budget, I am writing to demand that you hold the line on bail, knockdown barriers to people reentering their communities, and protect people facing eviction.

Don’t backtrack on bail reform:

The bail reform law passed in 2019 made New York's criminal system fairer, helped keep families together, and kept thousands of legally innocent, mostly Black and Brown people out of deadly jails. There is no evidence that these reforms drove an increase in crime.

We need proven public safety solutions like restorative justice and violence interruption programs and we also need more money to help survivors of violence. You should fund these programs without bowing to the endless fearmongering around bail reform.

Pass the Clean Slate Act:

A criminal conviction acts as a sort of scarlet letter that creates lifelong barriers to employment, housing, child care, and other necessities. Not being able to access these daily essentials makes it harder for people to successfully reintegrate back into their communities and often traps them in cycles of poverty and reincarceration.

The Clean Slate Act (S211/A1029 (Myrie/Cruz)) would address this problem by sealing the records of people convicted of most misdemeanors after three years and most felonies after seven years.

Right to Counsel in Housing Court:

We’ve seen soaring rents, mass evictions, increased homelessness, and an all-out assault on tenants’ rights by landlords during the ongoing housing crisis. Landlords are actively attempting to evict close to 300,000 tenants throughout New York State – and landlords nearly always have legal representation. This gives them a massive advantage over tenants who often must navigate the complex legal process on their own.

One proven way to level the playing field between tenants and landlords and keep people in their homes is to guarantee tenants facing eviction the right to have a lawyer at their side. A bill in the legislature (A1493/S2721 (Joyner/May)) would guarantee right to counsel in housing court statewide.

I am counting on you to fight for all New Yorkers in this year’s state budget.


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