Brennan Center: Bail Reform Did Not Drive Crime Increase

Photos: YouTube Screenshots

In 2019 New York State adopted a law ending the assessment of cash bail in most cases involving misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. The law aimed to reduce the risk that someone would be jailed because they could not afford to pay for release and the unnecessary use of incarceration, both of which can have a profoundly disruptive effect on peoples’ lives.

Many police leaders and some politicians have been against these reforms from the start, arguing that they contributed to rising crime early in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Those concerns, among others, drove three rounds of revisions to the bill between 2020 and 2023. Here, we review what we know so far about bail reform and its impact on public safety.

Critically, there is no evidence that bail reform drove recent increases in violence.


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