Adams Calls For Dangerousness Standard in Bail Law, Current System ‘Insane, Broken’

By Matis Glenn

Mayor Eric Adams speaking at the press conference at NYPD headquarters Wednesday. (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

New York City needs to reform bail reform and stop letting violent suspected criminals out on the street, says Mayor Eric Adams.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Adams, joined by Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and Chief Michael LiPetri, blasted the city’s rate of recidivism – the amount of times a person arrested and released reoffends – that he says is tied to bail reform laws passed in 2019, which largely eliminated cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent crimes.

Adams defended the NYPD, pointing to the 24 percent increase in arrests this year, and the confiscation of 4,300 illegal guns. The problem, he says, is that prosecutors and judges are letting dangerous criminals out on the street to reoffend.

“It’s about our criminal justice system becoming un-bottlenecked. It’s about judges making the right decisions. They must use all of their tools that are part of the criminal justice system the way the police [are] doing. The police, they’re doing their job.”

“Time and time again, our police officers making arrests and then the person who is arrested for assault, felonious assault, robberies and gun possessions, they’re finding themselves back on the street within days, if not hours after arrest and they go on to commit more crimes within weeks, if not days.”

New York is the only state in the country where judges are not permitted to take into consideration a suspect’s dangerousness when deciding if they should be remanded in jail until trial, or placed under house arrest. Other states which have done away with cash bail, including New Jersey, have instituted policies that allow judges to make such determinations.

“As a result of this insane, broken system, our recidivism rates have skyrocketed.”

“We are seeing tragedies every day on the streets of this city we love and serve,” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. “People are suffering, and more and more are unnecessarily becoming victims. Victims of repeat offenders who have shown that their criminal behavior is given no consequences. They see that because they’ve been through the system before, sometimes dozens and some even more than 100 times and they are allowed out the door, back out onto the streets.”

The Mayor gave three examples of data showing a higher rate of recidivism since the bail reform laws were passed.

In 2022, 25% of the 1,494 people arrested for burglary committed another felony within 60 days. In 2017, however, just 7.7% went on to commit another crime. For grand larceny, in 2022, the 60 day recidivism rate was 16.8%, compared with just 6.5% in 2017. This year, 165 people were arrested with a second gun charge. Of those, 82 are out on the street.

“This is unsustainable as a city, and that makes us less safe.”

Adams says that he’s not against bail reform, nor is he attacking those who promoted it.

“This is not a battle against those who saw the need to reform the criminal justice system. This is a battle against those who are exploiting those reforms. Our laser focus are on those repeated. Recidivous, dangerous, and violent people.”

Chief Michael LiPetri, Crime Control Strategies, Police Department, gave some examples of repeat offenders.  “Recidivist number six has an extensive long arrest history going back two decades to 2002. He has 71 career arrests. He’s a commercial burglar who targets commercial locations, and he continues to target the same locations. 57, 5 – 7 arrests, mostly for burglary, since 2020. He’s also a convicted predicate felon, as most of these individuals are.”

  “When we look at who we’re arresting, we are arresting individuals that have been arrested sometimes 100 times since 2020,” he said.

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