Panelists show another side to bail reform

Bail reform debate

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - There’s been a lot of talk about bail reform this year.

Some state lawmakers, prosecutors, and police claim releasing suspects without bail has led to an upswing in crime.

But Human Rights Watch, which conducts research on human rights, held a briefing with legal experts Tuesday to correct what it calls false and misleading information.

Panelists shared statistics and stories, saying bail reform is keeping more people out of jail and that crime rates are down -- particularly in New York City.

“Crime is not up at all and there is no correlation or causation relationship between bail reform in New York and crime generally,” said Jullian Harris-Calvin, who’s program director of Greater Justice New York.

"Thanks to bail reform, parents are at home with their children rather than sitting in jail, said Marvin Mayfield, statewide organizer for the Center for Community Alternatives. “Sick people are getting medical care in their communities. People are in rehab instead of jail stopping the relentless cycle of incarceration.”

One case in the North Country has been pointed to as a bail reform fail.

This past summer Watertown police chased a suspect who then dropped a gun, which went off.

District Attorney Kristyna Mills says the suspect was arrested before, was from outside the area, and should not have been on the streets.

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