Information warfare: Mayor and NYPD fight statistics battle with criminal justice advocates over bail reform and recidivism

Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD officials traded verbal jabs with bail reform advocates on Wednesday.

The mayor joined Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell at One Police Plaza on August 3 to make a damning charge against repeat offenders. Adams cited ordinary New Yorkers as the victims sandwiched between an ongoing contentious debate around bail reform.

On the one hand, formerly incarcerated and activist organizations sing the praises of bail reform, while on the other, the mayor believes there are a few exploiting loopholes to constantly return on the streets to commit more crimes.

“This is not an attack on virtuous reforms. This is an attack on those who exploit these reforms,” Adams said. “So let’s leave what’s in place for 90% of people, these first time offenders made a big mistake, I know – I’ve known people who made bad mistakes in my childhood, I made bad mistakes . Now let’s focus on those ten percent who decided they would be repeat offenders. That’s all we say.

The mayor unleashed a barrage of statistics. Photo by Dean Moses

The mayor launched a deluge of statistics to support his desire for change. According to hizzoner, arrests increased 24% to a total of 109,000 arrests as of August 1 for the year, compared to 87,794 arrests made during the same period in 2021. Additionally, arrests for seven major crimes increased By about 29. percent, gun arrests are at a 27-year high and the NYPD caught more than 4,300 illegal firearms as of the end of July.

In doing so, the number of murders and shootings is also down — but the city, Adams said, is crippled by skyrocketing property crimes, as well as recidivism rates.

According to Adams and the NYPD, in 2022, 25% of 1,494 people arrested for burglary committed another crime within 60 days; however, in 2017, only 7.7% went on to commit another crime. For robbery in 2022, the 60-day recidivism rate was 16.8%, compared to 6.5% in 2017.

“They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. Our criminal justice system is insane,” the mayor added. “It’s dangerous, it’s harmful and it destroys the fabric of our city.”

Police officials also talked about bail reform. Photo of Dean Moses

Chief Michael Lipetri took this house one step further by pointing out some repeat offenders who have been handcuffed a staggering number of times. Neither he nor the NYPD have released their identities.

LiPetri said a man had a criminal history dating back to 2002 with 71 arrests, but is still on the streets today. He is also pointed to another person with over 100 arrests and is free again.

Recidivism is also linked to shootings, according to the chief, who noted that as of 2020, 716 individuals are responsible for about 30% of all shooting incidents.

Others on the NYPD’s “worst of the worst” list include:

  • A high volume offender with 101 career arrests – including 88 since 2020.
  • A repeat offender arrested 57 times since 2020 – including 23 of those arrests for burglary. The individual is currently on parole.
  • A repeat offender with 87 arrests, including 25 since 2020, and 9 of those involving a robbery charge. This individual is also free on the city streets at this time.
  • An individual with 48 career arrests, including 39 since 2020. This individual has recorded 17 robbery arrests and has 10 open warrants.
  • A repeat offender currently at large despite a record of 63 arrests in total, including 39 since 2020. This individual has 13 arrests for major theft from the car.
Chief LiPetri took this house one step further by pointing out some repeat offenders who have been handcuffed a staggering number of times. Photo of Dean Moses

“We don’t know the right solutions”

Although the mayor and the NYPD made their case and cited their own data in calling for changes to bail reform, they were met before the briefing by a gathering of criminal justice advocates who accused it all of being a scare tactic designed to roll back the city. .

Standing in the shadow of NYPD headquarters, a host of advocacy groups have argued for what they cite as the productivity of bail reform, going so far as to accuse Mayor Eric Adams of spreading false information. The group has worked to back up its claim with its own new data.

Formerly incarcerated New Yorkers, their families and advocates want bail reform laws kept intact, saying the current system not only works, but also saves lives.

Marvin Mayfield, the organizing director of the Center for Community Alternatives, knows all too well what it’s like to be on Rikers Island, having spent 11 months on penal island for a crime he says is unheard of. know nothing.

Yet Mayfield couldn’t make his $10,000 bond, so he languishes in jail saying he was abused and assaulted so badly his leg was broken. He lost his job, his car and his apartment during his incarceration. The suffering proved too much for Mayfield, and he pleaded guilty.

Marvin Mayfield thinks Bail Reform has done a lot of good. Photo of Dean Moses

“The data is unequivocal. Bail reform has succeeded in reducing the injustices of pretrial incarceration while preserving public safety. Bail reform has increased the opportunity to build safer communities. It allowed tens of thousands of New Yorkers to stay in their homes awaiting trial, where they were on their way to maintaining their jobs, housing, and supporting themselves and their children,” said Mayfield.

“By blaming the wrong causes, we ignore the right solutions,” Mayfield added.

Advocates have argued that the safest communities are those with the most resources, rather than the highest incarceration rates. They believe that with more money allocated to community programs and opportunities, it will improve security instead of proposals that undermine justice reforms.

Arielle Reid of the Legal Aid Society believes Adams’ insistence on criticizing felony bail reform is her way of shifting blame for her failures to invest in the community.

The lawyers call the mayor a liar. Photo of Dean Moses

Reid explained that New York’s bail reform allows bail to be set for those who have been re-arrested for a felony or on probation, those who are persistent criminal offenders, or re-arrested for a felony or Class A misdemeanors that cause harm while being released for a prior crime, and more.

“As to what the bond is designed to do, it does. In New York State, bail has always been intended to ensure people get back to court, and after bail reform, nearly nine out of ten people go to all their subsequent court appearances. Of the thousands of people who have been allowed to return home to their families, jobs and children while awaiting their cases, more than 95% of them are not re-arrested for violent crimes,” Reid said.

Public attorney Jumaane Williams has joined supporters of bail reform. Photo of Dean Moses

Public attorney Jumaane Williams joined supporters of bail reform outside, but while agreeing with their cause, he also defended the mayor.

“I believe the mayor and his administration care about black and brown New Yorkers and care about people who are dying,” Williams said. “But I also believe, and I hope they believe, that I and the people behind me also care about black and brown New Yorkers and care about their deaths. It’s not about who cares the most, it’s not about who’s seen most of the horror… So what we can’t do is pretend there’s has people who care and people who don’t. But what we can do is try to put the conversation we need to have into context,” Williams said.