Redmond Haskins, The Legal Aid Society (
Dan Ball, Brooklyn Defender Services (
Ryan Karerat, The Bronx Defenders (
Lupe Todd-Medina, New York County Defender Services (
Sam McCann, The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (
Hettie Powell, Queens Defenders, (


Marking 100+ Days Since Albany Rolled Back Bail Reform, Defenders Decry Rising Jail Population – 14 Percent – as Alarming Second Wave of COVID-19 hits NYC

 With Jails Functioning as Deadly Incubators for COVID-19, Officials Must Commit to Decarceration to Save Lives

(NEW YORK, NY) – The Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services, The Bronx Defenders, New York County Defender Services, Queens Defenders and Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem issued the following joint statement decrying the increase in New York City’s jail population by 443 people – 14 percent – held pretrial following implementation of rollbacks to New York State’s bail reform law — which went into effect on July 2, 2020 — and amid a second wave of COVID-19:

“It is plainly unconscionable that Albany capitulated to racist fear-mongering and subjected more people to pretrial detention during the COVID-19 pandemic – a betrayal that is downright cruel. One hundred days after the implementation of these bail rollbacks, our fears have been realized  as more and more people are in jail as the City braces for a resurgence of COVID-19. Forcing people to share dorms, meals, sinks, toilets, and poorly-ventilated air, and having people constantly coming in and out of custody and moving from facility to facility goes against everything public health experts have told us. This makes us all less safe, and particularly threatens the Black, Latinx, and working class communities that were already disproportionately devastated by the pandemic. New York needs a commitment from all stakeholders, from prosecutors to lawmakers, to resume decarceration and help New Yorkers protect themselves and each other from this deadly virus.”

Background: On July 2, 2020, the day bail reform rollbacks took effect, there were 2,909 people languishing pretrial in New York City jails. As of October 6, 2020, there were 3,352 people held pretrial in local jails. This amounts to an increase of 443 people. This increase reflects even larger number of people who are admitted to New York City jails and exposed to others there, as people cycle in and out and every day.