Comptroller Calls for Removing Profit From City’s Bail Equation

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“The commercial bail process is egregious to me, and we have to push the judiciary,” Mr. Stringer said in an interview. “Part of doing this report is to put the marker down and say, ‘You’re costing the city money, you’re further putting poor families into poverty. Bail is not supposed to be punitive, and there are alternatives that the judicial system should be looking at.’”

Calls to end commercial bail are part of a broader movement to fix a pretrial release system that many believe is broken. The city is experimenting with ways to reduce its jail population with a goal of closing the Rikers Island jail complex. And as state lawmakers consider eliminating cash bail, an idea boosted by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in his State of the State address, some prosecutors have stopped requesting it for most misdemeanor offenses.

But for now, Mr. Stringer and others are pushing for meaningful changes under the existing law, which gives judges options to set bail with bonds that can be paid in court with little to no money.

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