ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)—Governor Hochul has proposed bail reform changes in the 2024 state budget.
The intent of bail reform was to ensure that a person would not be placed in pretrial detention simply because they couldn’t afford bail.
In Governor Hochul’s 2024 budget proposal, she wants to invest $15.7 million dollars of state funding into alternatives for incarceration in addition to getting rid of the least restrictive means standard when it comes to bail reform.
Albany Law School professor, Vincent Bonventre, explained the standard.
“Least restrictive means that if there is any other way to ensure that an individual will appear for a trial, then that other measure must be used. Pretrial detainment cannot be used if again, there is any other way to assure that the individual will appear,” said Bonventre.
The governor’s proposal isn’t pleasing everyone. While the Center for Community Alternatives supports investments in re-entry and alternatives to incarceration, it said,
“Governor Hochul’s proposed budget would remove a clear and straight-forward constitutional standard and replace it with no standard whatsoever to guide judicial decision making.”
Senator Dan Stec on the other hand doesn’t mind getting rid of the least restrictive means standard, but thinks the Governor’s budget proposal doesn’t go far enough to change the law.
“The bail reform that was put in has a lengthy list of crimes that are not eligible for bail, so judges hands are completely tied by the law. If she was serious, she would have addressed that list— again it’s a lengthy list, but it’s something you could work off of and could have easily said, well that’s a crime I want judges to have flexibility, there’s another one,” said Stec. “She could have just addressed it that way.”
The New York State budget is due April 1st.