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State Revamps Its Bail Reform Stats

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People wait to enter Queens Criminal Court while COVID restrictions were in place, Nov. 8, 2021.

Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Less than two weeks after releasing a trove of statistics showing the latest results of New York’s bail reform, the state has revamped its numbers — removing results that showed rearrests after their cases were closed.

THE CITY, and other news outlets, published articles based on the previously released data. THE CITY’s article is now updated based on the state’s new numbers.

The new data shrinks the numbers of cases labeled as involving rearrests while previous charges were pending pre-trial, from 42,000 to 26,000. The excluded 16,000 rearrests still took place within the first 18 months of bail reform — which started January 2020 — but only after the defendants had resolved their previous cases. 

Overall, the new numbers show 19.5% of all defendants were arrested again before their cases closed — including those released on bail, those released with no conditions on their own recognizance and those released to a social work program known as supervised release.

Among those in supervised release, 41.3% were rearrested before their cases resolved, and another 9% after their first cases closed.

As THE CITY reported Sunday, New York City supervised release defendants were rearrested at much higher rates than others.

The data updated Monday showed that 23% of those New York City defendants freed under supervised release were rearrested on felony charges while their cases were still pending. That compares to 12% for those who had bail set and 11.8% for released with no restrictions on their own recognizance.

That’s higher than several years preceding bail reform, when the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) reported 8% of supervised release defendants were rearrested for felonies on average from 2016 through 2018 and 9% were rearrested for felonies in 2019.

MOCJ reported supervised release defendants were rearrested at a rate of 13% in 2020, the first year of reform.

The 41.3% of New York City supervised release defendants rearrested for all types of charges — including misdemeanor, non-violent and violent felonies — before the disposition of their cases compares to 18.5% for bail set and 20.4% for those released on their own recognizance.

The data was released in connection with reforms passed in 2019 that greatly reduced the types of crimes where judges could impose bail. The state Office of Court Administration and the Division of Criminal Justice Services are required to track the effects of the reforms, which rolled out Jan. 1, 2020. 

The data includes all arraignments of defendants in New York state for all charges — misdemeanors and felonies — from Jan. 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

‘Accurate but Over-Inclusive’

On Monday the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, a major supporter of bail reform, questioned the state data, noting that it included rearrests that took place after the defendant had resolved their cases. 

“DCJS discovered an anomaly in the publicly available pretrial release data Monday morning.  We immediately contacted and coordinated with OCA to review and revise the data, which were re-posted on the court system’s website around 5 p.m.,” said Janine Kava, spokesperson for the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.  

“The previously posted data was accurate but over-inclusive, including rearrests that occurred after a case was concluded instead of only rearrests that occurred while a case was pending.” 

“The data that was provided previously was not wrong,” she added. “It’s not like those 16,000 cases were not rearrested. They were.” 

Asked for comment, MOCJ’s spokesperson, B. Colby Hamilton, responded via email, “At this point we see no reason to comment.”

 

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