Many people feel that having to pay bail to get out of jail after an arrest is unfair. This impelled lawmakers in New York to create a new law that stops judges from issuing bail in the case of nonviolent offenders. According to The New York Times, this new law goes into effect with the new year and will allow those arrested for nonviolent offenses to get out of jail without having to post bail.
The idea behind this law is to stop the punishment of lower-income people who may end up sitting in a jail cell for weeks or months before a decision on their case. By eliminating the option of bail, a person would undergo an arrest and go through booking, and then officers would release him or her. The bill does not allow judges any discretion. It is a blanket law.
This measure is not without controversy. Law enforcement and some other lawmakers see it as a risky law because it could allow potentially dangerous people back on the street. They feel it is a threat to public safety.
By preventing a judge from having some say in whether to require bail, opponents feel it takes away the power from the judicial system. They want to allow judges greater control.
While the law states it only applies to nonviolent offenses, this includes some crimes that may be on the edge of violent, such as stalking and assault. The term “nonviolent” in the context of this law is not in line with what the public may see as nonviolent and therefore non-threatening. This is a major reason why there are so many opposed to this new measure.
The law goes into effect on January 1, 2020. It remains to be seen if adjustments to the law will happen to accommodate the concerns of law enforcement and others in the legal system.