Clergy urge Cuomo and state leaders to uphold bail reforms despite backlash
Faith leaders in Monroe County issued letters to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislators this week urging them to continue upholding bail reform.
Rev. James Simmons is one of seven clergy who signed the letter addressed to Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Attorney General Letitia James calling on them to support bail reform despite backlash from some legislators and police who claim the new law will leave dangerous criminals on the streets.
"It was imperative that those who speak on the behalf of the oppressed, those who read the sacred texts that says that we have a responsibility to be voice for those without voice," said Simmons. "I think it was imperative that we speak up at this particular moment.”
In the letter, the faith leaders call on Cuomo and state legislators to act with "moral leadership" and uphold the measures that took affect two weeks ago.
Simmons says the new law on bail reform helps undo judicial policies that have disproportionately affected black and brown communities and those living in poverty.
"The picture that’s being created now of persons who are impacted by bail reform is nothing more than fearmongering," he says.
Bail reform took effect on January 1 of this year. Opponents have said they are concerned that repeat criminal offenders being released without bail could commit further offenses.
State Attorney General James said a measure should be considered to increase judicial discretion for repeat offenders and for those who could be considered dangerous if set free.
Faith Letter on Bail - 1-14-20_Cuomo by WXXI News on Scribd