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Renewed conversations surround NY bail reform laws

This is a recurring recording of WBNG's 6pm newscast.
Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 6:36 PM EST
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(WBNG) -- There are potentially major changes to New York’s legal system coming in the new year.

Governor Kathy Hochul (D) recently announced she is willing to work with the state legislature on potential changes to New York’s bail reform laws.

While she did not say she supported changing the controversial laws, she did say she was open to working with lawmakers.

However, advocates told 12 News Tuesday they don’t want to see bail reform changed because they’re seeing positive results.

“The reform is actually working as intended, and it’s keeping thousands of people out of jail, with their families, all while remaining in their homes and maintaining their jobs, and if we look to the existing data, bail reform is saving those lives and keeping families together without jeopardizing our collective public safety,” said Rodney Holcombe, the NYS Director for Criminal Justice Reform for advocacy group Fwd.us.

On the other side of the issue, members of law enforcement told 12 News they support potential changes and would like to see the system revert to the way it was, with judges allowed to use their discretion.

“We end up going out on almost a daily basis arresting people on a warrant, and rearresting on a warrant and rearresting on a warrant,” said Broome County Sheriff David Harder. “Leave it up to the courts to decide by looking at that person’s history, if they come back to court like they’re supposed to when they’ve been arrested in the past, how many times they’ve been arrested.”

Holcombe said less than 1% of all people released pre-trial commit violent felonies.