RENSSELAER COUNTY LEADERS CALL FOR REPEAL OF BAIL REFORM FOLLOWING SERIES OF VIOLENT INCIDENTS IN TROY IN RECENT WEEKS
Rensselaer County officials are renewing calls for a repeal of the state bail reform laws following a series of violent incidents in recent days in the city of Troy.
The county leaders said bail reform is causing an increase in crime across the state and making neighborhoods and residents less safe and in danger of violent attacks or thefts and other unlawful activity.
“The top priority of the State Legislature and the Governor in the coming weeks needs to be a complete reworking of bail reform and return to common-sense in our courts,” said County Executive Steve McLaughlin.
The bail reform issue has been cited by law enforcement and policy specialists as a major reason for an increase in crime. Recent polls have overwhelmingly showed support for bail reform revisions and restoration of judicial discretion on bail matters.
County leaders said a series of shootings, stabbings and break-ins in Troy have demonstrated the need for revisions to bail reform and restoration of judicial discretion. The city is also seeing an increase in thefts, graffiti and damage to property.
“There is no question that bail reform in its current state has contributed to the increase in crime. We need to return to judges having discretion and the ability to properly react to a situation and protect the public,” said Sheriff Patrick Russo.
“Residents feel less safe in too many neighborhoods, and there has been a significant jump in the number of violent crimes. Bail reform is the cause of those shocking increases in crime and needs to be reworked,” said County Clerk Frank Merola.
The County Legislature is again renewing a call for a repeal of bail reform with a resolution urging state leaders to take action on the issue. The resolution will be considered at the Legislature’s April 12 meeting.
“The current bail reform guidelines have forgotten victims of crimes. We have asked state leaders to address this issue since its inception and we are hopeful Governor Hochul has listened to our concerns and will make much needed changes,” said Chairwoman Kelly Hoffman.
“Many times those arrested are suffering from mental illness, addictions, or other conditions that were able to be identified and addressed during a night in jail. Now, these individuals don’t have a safe place in jail to sober up or detox and get the help they need before returning to the same lifestyle that landed them in jail in the first place. As someone who ran the Rensselaer County Jail, I know first-hand how beneficial a night in jail was for those who needed help getting their lives back on track,” said Vice Chair Bob Loveridge.
“Recent polls show that New Yorkers feel that they are less safe because of bail reforms. Our County Legislature has opposed these changes since they were first proposed because we don’t believe that dangerous criminals should be allowed to walk free before the ink on their arrest paperwork has dried,” said Majority Leader Ken Herrington.
“The bail reforms have given criminals the green light to do whatever they want without the fear of going to jail. Look at the crime, graffiti, and quality of life crimes taking place in cities like Troy and you will see what people who don’t fear going to jail will do to your community,” said Legislator Leon Fiacco.