Osborne hosts NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer for Bail Roundtable

28 June 2018

More than one hundred Osborne participants and staff filled our cafeteria in mid-June for a roundtable discussion with NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer about his call to eliminate commercial bail-bonds. 

The Comptroller’s recent report, "The Public Cost of Private Bail: A Proposal to Ban Bails Bonds in NYC" [link] highlights the high and wide-ranging costs of the for-profit bail-bonds industry. The report estimates that “the City now spends $100 million a year to lock up people too poor to make bail.” People detained on bail lose “about $28 million in wages every year because they were … not able to pay bail.” At the same time, “commercial bail-bond providers made between $16 million and $27 million from New York City defendants and their families through nonrefundable fees.”

During the discussion, Osborne participant Juan said eliminating commercial bail bonds should be the obvious first step in improving the city's criminal justice system.

“First, get rid of cash bail. It’s a messed-up system,” he said.

“Most of the cases are minor cases. It’s a business. The bail bond companies are getting rich, but the community is losing,” he added.

After the roundtable, Comptroller Stringer said that “we wanted to talk to people who have had direct experience with the criminal justice system, the kinds of things that they have to say, the kind of reforms that they think make sense, because you want to have a large conversation.... You want to have a safe city, but we also want a fair criminal justice system.”
We thank Comptroller Stringer for visiting us in the Bronx and listening to those who are directly affected by the system on the wide-ranging issues they contend with in their daily lives.

We would also like to acknowledge State Senator Brian Benjamin and Assemblymember Michael Blake who sponsored legislation to enact the reforms outlined in Comptroller Stringer's report (building on the Governor’s efforts this year to improve New York’s oppressive money bail system).  While the legislative session in Albany concluded without decisive action on multiple efforts to reform or eliminate the bail system, we commend the comptroller and his partners for their work and look forward to their continued advocacy in the fall. 

You can read more about the Comptroller's visit in an article published in The Bronx Free Press, "Bail Burn."