Gillibrand bail reform

1010 WINS

Gillibrand pushes bill that would end cash bail system

December 16, 2018 - 5:13 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – With Congress set to take action on criminal justice reform Monday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says there’s much more work to be done when it comes to bail reform.

Gillibrand joined civil rights leaders like Rev. Al Sharpton on Sunday to call on Congress to take up legislation early next year that would end the cash bail system.

The bill would affect people like TJ Shivers, who had to use money from her disability check to pay a bail bondsman after being arrested for assault – a charge that was dismissed a year later.

“Wealthy people very rarely sit in jail,” Shivers said. “They pay bail and they go home. People experiencing poverty, we’re the ones who rot in jail.”

Experiences like Shivers’ have prompted Gillibrand to call for an end to the bail system for nonviolent crimes.

“People are sitting in jail for months, even years who have been convicted of nothing,” Gillibrand said at the press conference in Midtown Sunday.

She’s pushing the No Money Bail Act, which would eliminate bail for nonviolent offenders in the federal court system and use subsidies to encourage state and local courts to do the same.

The legislation would only directly affect the federal courts, not the state or local courts, where most bails are set.

Sharpton said bail reform is a civil rights issue.

“Half of the pretrial detainees in this country are black and Latino,” he said.