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Connections: Understanding New York’s bail reform laws

Activists seeking bail reform in New York State are celebrating what they call a major victory. During this past legislative session, state lawmakers voted to end the use of cash bail for many lower-level offenses, and limit its use for more serious crimes. In the past, some people who were charged with misdemeanors could spend many days in jail because they couldn’t cover the bail. Reform groups say that system was discriminatory, and the overhaul of the cash bail system is both bold and progressive. A new study shows the move will lead to a significant reduction in the state’s pretrial jail population – at least 40 percent. But, there is opposition to the changes. Some members of law enforcement have concerns, especially when it comes to repeat offenders.

Jeremy Moule reported on the reforms in a cover story for City newspaper titled “Forfeiting Bail.” He joins us to break down the laws, what the changes mean for the criminal justice system, and more. We also talk with local attorneys who help us understand how the changes will impact the people they serve. In studio:

Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.
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