Well…this is interesting. Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights announced last September that it would bail out hundreds of inmates at Rikers prison in a demonstration intended to show that cash bail does nothing to keep communities safe but, instead, merely imprisons the poor. Now, it’s happened, and New York City officials, who were none too enthused when the announcement came out a few months ago, are probably even less so now. The city’s mayor, district attorney, and police commissioner were all notably worried about public safety.
Experimenting With Danger?
In what comes down to a real-life experiment to see just how ill-behaved the released inmates will be, folks must be looking on in fascination to see what stories are going to come out of NYC in the coming months. Of course, if you live in the city itself, you may be a bit less fascinated and a bit more scared – but no bother, this is all in the name of progress after all! Shockingly (sarcasm intended), the New York Times reports that the concerns may be overstated. Only time will tell – in the meantime, maybe Boston is a good location for that next trip to a nice city in the area.
105 Freed from Rikers, City Jails
During October, roughly $1.2 million in bail was posted on behalf of 105 people in Rikers and other city jails. Amounts of bail posted ranged from $750 to $100,000. Of the 90 who have had scheduled court appearances, only two have failed to show up according to self-reporting. One was rearrested on a misdemeanor charge and other simply stopped correspondence and is “in the wind,” as they say.
Now, if the same group can simply keep tabs on everyone who is freed from Rikers and all other New York City jails, this thing is going to work out great. Let’s hope the funding is robust…keeping track of that many freed arrestees is going to be thirsty work. Noted Kerry Kennedy, president of the RFK group:
The mass bailout proves that the system is unfair and targets people of color and people living in poverty. Another goal of the experiment, which is now complete, was to show that New York City might be able to close the dangerous Rikers Island jail complex more quickly than its current 10-year timeline.
Again, only time will tell. In the meantime, autumn in New York is supposed to be beautiful – this year, best to just take in the New England foliage, we think.