Op-Ed | Rolling back bail reform isn’t the answer

Prison Cell  Bars
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If you listen to Mayor Adams and Gov. Hochul, you would think that after bail reform was passed in 2019, everyone was released from jail and judges lost all power to send people there. I know from painful personal experience that is false.

My son is one of thousands of people who are still incarcerated while awaiting trial in New York state. For more than 20 months, he’s been on Rikers Island because I can’t pay his bail. If I had more money, he would be out. There is no justice in a system that makes people pay for their freedom. My son has had mental health challenges since he was a child, and the time he’s spent in juvenile detention centers and jails has only made those issues worse — especially with the conditions on Rikers right now. I know my son’s mental state has deteriorated since he’s been there.

We don’t need to roll back bail reforms again to send more people to jail on unaffordable bail. If our elected officials are serious about safety, they should stop attacking bail reform and focus on investing in the resources that could help my son and many others live more stable and productive lives.

P. Mass is a Bronx resident and advocate and a member of the Freedom Agenda