Some lawmakers worry changes to bail reform in next state budget won't be effective
Some lawmakers think the changes that Gov. Kathy Hochul made to bail reform laws in the state's next budget plan will do more hurt than good.
Others say they will not go far enough to deter criminals.
The reforms include provisions that allow judges to set bail for defendants charged with repeat offenses, hate crimes and some gun-related charges.
It also allows judges to consider if a person will do harm if released.
But some are calling these changes weak and ineffectual.
"The issues are very insignificant. Very limited," says State Sen. Anthony Palumbo, from New Suffolk. He says the changes to the current laws will not prevent repeat offenders, especially if judges can't determine a so-called "dangerousness standard" for newly arrested defendants who pose a risk to the public.
"My son is dead, and this is because of bail reform," says Victor Maldonado, whose son Jonathan was killed in crash in Shirley by an alleged repeat DWI offender. He says even with the new changes, drivers like the one in his case and in others accused of non-violent crimes will continue to go free.
"If these people are held in jail, they can't go out and do it again," Maldonado says.
But Serena Martin Lighori, from New Hour for Women and Children on Long Island, says bail reform was working well in New York. She says it allows those accused of crimes to try to improve their lives while they wait for their hearings. She says more social services are needed to prevent crimes, not stricter bail laws.
"We need more support in our communities, more access to resources and intervention before it becomes too late," Martin-Lighori says.