VICTORY: NYC to Reduce Use of Cash Bail for Non-Violent Suspects


For Immediate Release: July 8, 2015

Contact: Molly Haigh, 907-750-1999,

Pretrial Justice Institute Applauds NYC’s Move to Limit Cash Bail, Urges Gov. Cuomo to Follow Suit in Honor of Now-Deceased Kalief Browder

After more than 45,000 people called upon NY Governor Cuomo to end cash bail statewide, and Pretrial Justice Institute Executive Director Cherise Fanno Burdeen urged the NYC Council to abolish cash bail in hearings on the new city bail fund, Mayor De Blasio has moved toward eliminating cash bail for NYC’s non-violent offenders, as reported by the Associated Press today.

“This is a huge step forward for justice in New York City,” said Cherise Fanno Burdeen, Executive Director of the Pretrial Justice Institute. “We applaud Mayor De Blasio for leading the charge to make risk, and not money, the deciding factor in who stays in jail before trial. Now, we urge Governor Cuomo to follow suit and end cash bail for all of New York state’s low-risk defendants. Cash bail is discriminatory, doesn’t work, and it causes more harm than good. We can’t bring back casualties of cash bail like Kalief Browder or Jerome Murdough, but this move will prevent more tragic stories like theirs.”

The Pretrial Justice Institute has a petition calling on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to end cash bail and replace it with risk assessment as part of a comprehensive plan to promote a safer, fairer and more effective pretrial justice system.

See the petition to Gov. Cuomo to end cash bail, signed by 45,370 people here: And here:

The Pretrial Justice Institute has also commissioned truck ads to circle the Governor’s mansion calling for an end to cash bail.

See photos here:

The campaign started after the tragic death of 22 year old Bronx resident Kalief Browder. Kalief spent three years —from age 16 to 19—on Riker’s Island, and over 400 days in solitary confinement, for a crime he did not commit because his family could not afford $3,000 in cash bail set by the judge in New York City.

Key facts on NY’s system of jailing poor people:

  • Only 12 percent of defendants in NYC make bail and leave court in all cases when bail is set at arraignment. In cases where a judge sets a minimal bail — $500 or less — most defendants stay in jail beyond their initial court appearance.
  • Nearly half of defendants with cash bail set (median $1000) were never able to pay and remained detained pretrial in NYC.
  • On average, unconvicted defendants in NYC spent almost 16 days in pretrial detention for low-level offenses.

Nationwide facts on cash bail and pretrial detention:

  • 6 in 10 people in jail have not been convicted of their charges. These numbers hold true for New York.
  • Even two or three days in jail makes it 40% more likely a person will commit a crime in the future, even if they were innocent.
  • Pretrial detention also increases the chance of conviction, a sentence of incarceration and a longer sentence than for those who are released pretrial.


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The Pretrial Justice Institute is a national organization working to advance safe, fair, and effective pretrial justice that honors and protects all people.

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