This report lays out a series of reforms to significantly reduce New York City's jail population, a move that would also cut costs substantially. To identify ways to safely reduce the use of jail, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice commissioned research on the path of criminal cases from arrest through bail decisions to sentencing.
- Of those detained awaiting trial because of an inability to make bail, the majority posed no significant risk to public safety.
- An improved bail payment system would allow large numbers of defendants to avoid short-term jail stays.
- The city could make more use of early diversion before cases enter the court system, especially in the case of young, misdemeanor defendants.
- The reliance on short sentences in misdemeanor cases may be counter-productive inasmuch as research shows even brief jail stays increase the risk of future criminal behavior while providing no benefit to public safety.