Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-N.Y.) plans to free roughly 900 inmates and give them free baseball tickets, movie passes, and gift cards to encourage them to return for their court date.
New York City will be rolling out a new bail reform program to combat overcrowding in prisons starting Jan. 1, 2020, according to multiple reports.
As a part of the reform program, those arrested for what are deemed non-violent crimes will not spend time in jail prior to their court date and will not be required to post bail prior to their court date. The released inmates are expected to show up to court on their court date, and the reward given to the inmates during their release would act as incentive from them to do so, Breitbart reported.
The New York Post reported that although the policy will go into effect on Jan. 1. Current inmates who have committed non-violent crimes can apply to have their bail lifted and be freed retroactively.
According to Breitbart, the crimes that were considered non-violent include second-degree manslaughter, aggravated vehicular assault, promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child, possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child, criminally negligent homicide, and aggravated vehicular homicide.
CBS New York reported that around 900 inmates are expected to be released around mid-December, as a part of the new policy, something that the mayor called a “smart policy.”
However, critics have said that this sort of policy encourages more criminal behavior, according to the New York Post.
“It’s bad enough that [suspects] have to be reminded [to show up to court], but to be rewarded is ludicrous,” said a Queens police officer, according to the New York Post.
Another officer from Brooklyn criticized the policy, according to the news outlet, and said, “What does that say about the Mets? Are Yankees tickets reserved for murderers? I am sure it will only be a matter of time before they get out on no bail.”
Many law enforcement officers are against the policy and have asked Governor Andrew Cuomo to stop the implementation of the new policy.
Richmond County District Attorney Michael McMahon said that most average citizens would view the “non-violent crimes” as potentially violent, according to CBS New York.
“Manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, burglary, drug sales on school grounds, anyone who looks at these 400 charges can see there are crimes that an average person would consider violent,” McMahon said.
Acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan voiced his concerns with the policy and of the repeated offenders of “non-violent” crimes being released into the public once again, Breitbart reported. In an example of such a case, Ryan stated:
“Just a few days ago, a defendant was arrested on a commercial burglary. It was his 44th arrest. He has 25 misdemeanor convictions, five felony convictions and 14 failures to appear in court. He also convictions in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Bail was set, but if his case is not disposed of he will walk out of Rikers on Jan. 1. The point is, you may think maybe he should walk out, but under the law, judge has no choice,” Ryan said, CBS New York reported.