We Need Action on Bail Reform Now

From Feb. 2018

We need action on the recently introduced Bail Fairness Act of 2018, which would reform bail by ending cash bail for misdemeanors. As your Representative, I will fight to end needless incarceration that primarily harms low income and minority communities.

Bail is only one of the ways that our criminal justice system is broken, but it's one we can fix. Day after day, countless young people - convicted of no crime - sit in jail cells only because they can't afford bail. That's wrong. We know the tragedy of Kalief Browder; we see it continuing every day. And the only way it changes is with a new Congressmember who fights for our community, demands action, and gets things done.

The Bail Fairness Act of 2018 was introduced in the House of Representatives last month. It aims to encourage states to end cash bail for misdemeanors and create avenues for misdemeanor charges to be dropped, such as completing a mental health diversion program, a drug/alcohol rehabilitation program, a community program, or a different program that is age and crime appropriate.

Bail reform is gaining momentum across the country. Several states, including New Jersey, Kentucky, and Alaska, have recently ended cash bail for misdemeanors. Within New York City, Manhattan and Brooklyn are the only boroughs that are no longer seeking bail in misdemeanor cases.

Here in Brooklyn, some of our leaders get it, and I'm glad that our District Attorney no longer requests cash bail in these cases. But in Congress, Yvette Clarke has been absent on this issue; she hasn't said anything, done anything, or even co-sponsored the bill. As the next Congressmember for this District, I'm not going to stay silent or wait around. I will work every day to improve the lives of everyone who calls this district home.