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Debate continues about bail reform realities, as new law starts this winter

New laws taking effect on January 1 could mean certain suspects will be set free without having to pay cash bail. Supporters say these are for mostly non-violent crimes, will help remedy the problem of overcrowding in jails, and deliver constitutional rights.

“The system that currently exists results in people being detained, unable to post bail,” says attorney Mark Foti. He says individuals should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Adding that holding people with no conviction, at a high bail limit they can’t post is unconstitutional.

Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley says, “With criminal justice reform it was very important that we do move forward.” Yet she says with bail reform, it’s concerning.

“For non-qualifying offenses, there will be a presumption of releases on their own recognizance,” says Doorley. She adds for an example, a person who commits a home burglary with no weapon, will now be released until trial, regardless of their prior criminal record. It changes criteria in place.

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