Policy Analysis | Estimating the Effects of Governor Kathy Hochul’s Proposed Criminal Justice Legislation

On March 17, 2022, New York’s local media publicized a set of criminal justice proposals advanced by Governor Kathy Hochul. To inform policy deliberations, we sought to quantify the likely effects of proposals related to the state’s bail, Desk Appearance Ticket, and “Raise the Age” reforms.

Summary of Key Findings:

Bail Reform:

  • Increase in Bail Eligibility: The Governor’s legislation would produce an estimated 17% relative increase in NYC cases eligible for bail (from 28% to 33% of the city’s criminal cases, impacting just over 5,000 cases based on 2021 numbers). 
  • Resulting Increase in Bail and Remand Decisions: Analyzing NYC judges’ release decisions in 2019, before bail reform went into effect, we project a smaller 5% relative increase in the number for which judges would proceed to set bail or remand the individual to jail (increasing the use of bail or remands by almost 600 cases). 
  • Racial/Ethnic Disparities and Charge Composition: Based on 2021 numbers, the impacted individuals newly exposed to bail would be about 55% Black and 31% Hispanic/Latinx, though these groups respectively comprise 24% and 29% of the city’s population. Additionally, an estimated 76% of the cases would involve misdemeanor charges, 24% nonviolent felonies, and 0% violent felonies.

Desk Appearance Ticket Reform:

  • The new proposals would also produce an estimated 17% relative increase in NYC cases facing a custodial arrest and overnight detention in lieu of receiving a ticket and a future court date (about 4,900 cases based on 2021 numbers). The impacted individuals would be about 51% Black and 33% Hispanic/Latinx.