Nassau County forms coalition to advocate for bail reform changes

MINEOLA, Long Island (WABC) -- Nassau County officials are putting together what they're calling a "common sense coalition" to make recommendations to Albany on changes they would like to see in New York's new bail reform law.

"There are people walking out the door of arraignment courts with assault charges, with weapons charges, with gun charges, assault on children," said Brian Sullivan, the president of the Nassau Correction Officers Benevolent Association.

Sullivan spoke Tuesday at a press conference with Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and other law enforcement officials outside Nassau Supreme Court in Mineola.

"This is not about politics," Curran said. "It's about public safety and making sure we are advocating together on common sense changes to the law."

Under the law, which went into effect January 1, those charged with misdemeanors and some felonies are not required to post bail to be released while awaiting trial. It's meant to ensure that the low-income aren't punished simply because they don't have enough money to post bail.

Hundreds of people on Long Island have been released under the law in recent weeks, and some have committed additional crimes upon their release, --including an Island Park woman who was arrested and released three times in one week.

"This is something if we don't get out in front of it, it's going to cause our crime numbers to climb and climb quickly," Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke on bail reform during his 2021 budget presentation Tuesday and acknowledged that reform is an ongoing process.

"We need to respond to the facts, but not the politics," he said.

He said some decisions may be made in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Curran said the coalition, which will include various law enforcement officials, plans to send its recommendations to Albany this week.

They will include advocating for judicial discretion when making bail decisions and implementing a process of review for bail.

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