Examining the System-Wide Effect of Eliminating Bail in New York City: A Controlled-Interrupted Time Series Study

This builds upon the initial report in the Data Collaborative for Justice’s Bail Reform and Recidivism Series – Does New York’s Bail Reform Law Impact Recidivism? A Quasi-Experimental Test in New York City.

Using controlled-interrupted time series analysis (CITS), this follow-up study estimated the effect of New York’s initial reform on recidivism in New York City by comparing re-arrest rates between bail-ineligible versus bail-eligible offenses before and after the reforms.

Key Findings:

  • Eliminating the option to set bail under the reform was not associated with a change in overall re-arrest, felony re-arrest, or violent felony re-arrest rates within either two years or during the pretrial period (capped at 6 months of tracking).

  • For “high risk” individuals with a separate pending case at the time of arraignment, there was an increase approaching statistical significance in violent felony re-arrest within two years, and a statistically significant increase in violent felony re-arrest within the pretrial period. There were no differences in overall re-arrest or felony re-arrest rates for this same subgroup.

Want to learn more? Please read the main report and technical supplement explaining how the time series methods adopted in this study work.

The findings from this study are broadly consistent with prior research on New York’s bail reform. Two earlier studies found no impact of bail reform on crime rates within New York City or statewide; and an earlier Data Collaborative for Justice study found that for cases made ineligible for bail, re-arrest rates decreased overall, though for a relatively small “high risk” subgroup re-arrest rates increased.