“I stood in front of the judge for maybe 1 minute, and he announced a bail of $135,000. I lost my job because I was detained pretrial for 11 months.”
Marvin, who shared this story, is a leader with the #FREEnewyork campaign for criminal justice reform. His words demonstrate how New York’s jail crisis punishes thousands of poor people and people of color — and violates our Jewish values.
Here’s the good news: This year, New York can reform our statewide jail crisis by passing groundbreaking laws being called for by directly impacted people, like Marvin.
We need everyone in the Jewish community to add their voice to the moral outcry, so we’re teaming up with #FREENewYork, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) and T’ruah to launch a petition to Governor Cuomo and the NY State Legislature.
In just two weeks, Jews across the country will sit down to the first Passover seder to share stories and dreams about the sweetness of liberation.
Meanwhile, more than 25,000 New Yorkers will be sitting in county jails. Like Marvin, most of them have not been convicted of anything — they’re in jail because they can’t afford bail and aren’t guaranteed a speedy trial.
And even a few days in jail can cause people to lose their jobs, housing, custody of children, and even their lives.
New York can lead the way to liberation by passing crucial criminal justice reforms this year.
Governor Cuomo has expressed a commitment to help solve New York’s jail crisis, but his proposed legislation falls short of the bold reforms that directly impacted communities are calling for.
As Jews, we can’t be silent as the jail crisis tears communities apart — that’s why we’re demanding that Governor Cuomo and our State Legislature take real steps toward ending mass incarceration in New York by passing gold standard bail reform, speedy trial reform, and discovery law reform.