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Eliminating Cash Bail Jeopardizes Public Safety, Long Island GOP Warns

Desiree D'Iorio
New York Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan, R-Smithtown, with the Long Island Republican delegation and law enforcement officials at the Suffolk County jail in Riverhead on Tuesday.

New York lawmakers and law enforcement officials have sounded the alarm about public safety as inmates get released under the state’s new bail reform law in the new year.

The law eliminates cash bail for certain misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. But critics say judges should make individual bail decisions based on dangerousness. 

State Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan called the law a “get-out-of-jail-free card.” 

“It’s going to jeopardize the safety of the people who protect us on a daily basis. It’s ill-advised policy. And unfortunately, unfortunately we, individually and collectively, believe that this is going to be revisited because something bad is going to happen.” 

Supporters say the reform will make the criminal justice system more fair since low-income offenders often can’t afford to bail themselves out. 

Officials say 29 Nassau County inmates have been released. Suffolk will release seven inmates. State courts began releasing defendants weeks ago to avoid a mass release when the law takes effect on January 1. 

Desiree reports on the lives of military service members, veterans, and their families for WSHU as part of the American Homefront project. Born and raised in Connecticut, she now calls Long Island home.