AS IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM MEASURES START AMID ONGOING FEARMONGERING BY OPPONENTS, NEW YORKERS UNITED FOR JUSTICE DEBUTS TOOLS, EXPERTS TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 2, 2019
Contact: Melissa Mansfield | mmansfield@skdknick.com

AS IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM MEASURES START AMID ONGOING FEARMONGERING BY OPPONENTS, NEW YORKERS UNITED FOR JUSTICE DEBUTS TOOLS, EXPERTS TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT 

NYUJ Offers Myth vs Facts on Bail Reform & Public Safety as New Phase of Public Education Campaign Emphasizes Law Enforcement Support, Proven Safety Record of Reforms in NY, Nationwide  

***Legal Experts and Advocates Available for Interviews***

NEW YORK – New Yorkers United for Justice (NYUJ), a diverse, statewide coalition fighting for a safer and fairer New York, released the following statements and tools designed as a resource to cut through a dense cloud of misinformation and fearmongering today as long-awaited common-sense reforms enacted last spring kick into effect. The coalition—led by two formerly incarcerated individuals— and comprised of progressive and conservative civil rights and criminal justice reform advocates and legal experts played a key role in advocating for reforms to New York State’s notorious “blindfold” discovery laws, common-sense changes to New York’s outdated bail system, and assurances of a speedy trial for all individuals.

As implementation of new reforms debut, NYUJ released a public tool, New York Bail Reform: What’s Fact and What’s Fiction, to sort fact from fiction around new bail reform regulations. The report clarifies what the law actually changes and what it doesn’t change, how these reforms enhance public safety, and the implications for judges, law enforcement and New Yorkers who have lived for too long with a deeply flawed system. It also offers a primer on what bail is and isn’t and what is and isn’t part of our justice system in New York. NYUJ will be updating these tools frequently and has legal experts available to make sure reporting is accurate.

NYUJ is currently in a public-education phase, partnering with Eric Gonzalez, the Kings County District Attorney, whose Brooklyn jurisdiction is the state’s most populous and who reformed bail and discovery several years ago to great public safety effect. Please click here to view the spot in which the prosecutor details the safety benefits that have accompanied an 11% reduction in violent crimes in his county. Similar results are in effect in neighboring suburban New Jersey and Connecticut.

“For those with means, these pre-trial reforms change nothing.  But for those who have been systemically disenfranchised by our archaic criminal justice system, these reforms, which are limited to most misdemeanors and low level, non-violent felonies, will restore justice to thousands and make our state safer,” said Normal Reimer, Executive Director, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, who serves as Board Chair of NYUJ. “The ability to pay cash bail has determined where you wait out the trial process: at home, or in jail. The rich waited at home while the poor waited in jail. This is not only unfair, it’s also unsafe: incarceration and time away from job and family wreck families and communities and increase exposure to danger and criminality. The opponents to reform prefer to perpetuate a two-tiered system that preyed on low-income individuals and delayed justice—but made our state no safer.”

“After decades of stalled progress, we’re beginning the New Year in a safer and fairer New York,” said Khalil A. Cumberbatch, Chief Strategist, New Yorkers United for Justice. “These changes address the flawed criminal justice system of the past that ripped families apart, created a two-tiered system for the rich and poor, delayed justice and wrongfully incarcerated the innocent while the guilty walked free. We’ve finally taken a step towards ensuring that all New Yorkers are treated equally under the law, regardless of their economic status. Amid fearmongering attacks from those who would defend the status quo, New Yorkers United for Justice will defend our progress and push for fact-based, safety oriented reforms.”

NYUJ leaders are critical resources and no criminal justice reform story is balanced without their expertise. Both Mr. Cumberbatch and Mr. Reimer are available to speak with media. Please email nyuj@skdknick.com to set up an interview.

# # #