Demand real criminal justice reform

Email sent: Mar 6, 2018 5:19 pm

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Dear ACLU Supporter,

New Yorks criminal justice system is inadequate, unfair and deeply broken.

Each year, tens of thousands of New Yorkers who have not been convicted of a crime are stuck behind bars, pulled away from their work and their families, because they cant afford to pay bail. A slow and backlogged court system drags out their injustice, as they wait months or even years for trial.

Worse still, these injustices disproportionately hurt people of color and poor New Yorkers. We need real criminal justice reform and we need it NOW.

TAKE ACTION: Tell the governor and lawmakers they must pass legislation that fulfills the promise of fairness and justice.We need real reform of our bail, speedy trial and discovery laws.

In the coming weeks, legislative leaders will negotiate our state budget, and with it, a series of criminal justice reform measures introduced by the governor andlawmakers in the Senate and Assembly. In these negotiations, lawmakers must not trade away real reform.

New Yorkers charged with minor offenses should not spend time locked up, period. No one should be in jail because of the size of their bank account. Jail time before trial should be rare, used only when there is absolutely no other way to ensure someone returns to court.

We must live up to our constitutional guarantee of a right to trial within a reasonable timeframe. The tragedy of Kalief Browder, who spent three years on Rikers Island without being convicted of any crime, showsthe horrors possible in ourcurrent system. We cannot allow people to suffer in jail because a court is understaffed orbusy.

We also need "discovery" reform which would ensure open, early and automatic access to all evidence collected by prosecutors so New Yorkers arent defending themselves with one hand tied behind their backs.

Tell lawmakers make New Yorka national leader in criminal justice reform.New Yorkers will not wait any longer for a fairer system.

We have all heard President Trump and Attorney General Sessions regressive, tough-on-crime worldview one that would subject thousands more New Yorkers to the criminal justice system. Lets show them that wewont move backward. Lets prove that in New York our rights and protections mean something.

Thank you for fighting injustice,

Donna Lieberman
Donna Lieberman
Executive Director
New York Civil Liberties Union

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