CJ Debate: Broken Windows Policing
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Broken Windows Policing
Dr. Michael J. Jenkins
University of Scranton
Dr. Michael J. Jenkins is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Scranton. He received his Ph.D. from Rutgers School of Criminal Justice, completing his dissertation under the mentorship of famed “broken windows” theorist Dr. George Kelling. He has worked as a Case Manager with adult parolees on New Jersey’s Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative. In addition to receiving multiple NIJ grants to train and study police, he is the author of three books. His book titled Police Leaders in the New Community Problem-Solving Era explores how some of the nation’s top police executives drastically changed the nature of their departments’ relationships with the communities they serve. He has also authored Labor Unions, Management Innovation, & Organizational Change in Police Departments and Policing the World: The Practice of International and Transnational Policing. In 2017 Dr. Jenkins will be on a Fulbright grant to London, where he will study police use of force in resolving public order offenses. He’ll be working with the London Metropolitan Police and colleagues at University College London.
Criminal Practice of The Legal Aid Society
Justine M. Luongo, known as Tina to all, is the Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Practice of The Legal Aid Society. One key focus of her tenure as the Society’s chief defender is to fight for law and policy reform to stop the discriminatory policing of black and brown people and the need for transparency and accountability between the NYPD and the public. She has been an active voice in the movement to foster best practices in public defense and continues to be involved in the dialogue about how public defenders can create systemic change, as well as be zealous advocates for their clients. Tina was the Chair of the American Bar Association Task Force on Comprehensive Criminal Representation that analyzed best practices to address the complex, life altering consequences that clients face when they are charged with or convicted of crimes. She is a member of the ABA Criminal Justice Council, a member of the Board of Directors of the newly forms Chief Defender Association of New York, and a Steering Committee member and Chair of the Impact Committee of the National Association for Public Defense.
NYU Wagner Students for Criminal Justice Reform
Nadia Chait is the Communications Chair of SCJR and an MPA-Health student at NYU Wagner. She previously worked as the Communications Director for NYC Council Member Rory Lancman, who chairs the Committee on Courts and Legal Services. In this role, Nadia advocated for reforms in the city’s summons court and bail process, and helped to organize hearings on speedy trial, human trafficking intervention courts, court record advocacy and interactions between immigration and criminal justice. Nadia received her undergraduate degree from NYU in History with a Public Health Policy minor.
CJ Debate: Sex Work Decriminalization
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Sex Work Should be Decriminalized
Elizabeth Nolan Brown
Elizabeth Nolan Brown is an associate editor at Reason magazine, where she covers current-events and culture with an emphasis on sex policy, criminal justice, free speech, food and tech regulation, and millennial politics. Brown’s writing has also been published by outlets such as Politico, Playboy, Time, Newsweek, The Dish, and The Daily Beast, and her 2015 Reason cover-story,”The War on Sex Trafficking Is the New War on Drugs,” won this year’s Western Publishing Association “Maggie” for best feature article. In addition, her writing about sex work, sex trafficking, and criminal justice has been cited in the pages of legal briefs, academic papers, and major newspapers, and she has spoken about these issues at conferences and panels around the country. Before starting with Reason, Brown served in various editorial roles at AARP publications, Bustle.com, Defy Media, and Ohio legal newspaper The Daily Reporter and earned her M.A. from American University and a B.F.A. from Ohio University. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. and can be found on Twitter @enbrown.
Dorchen A. Leidholdt
Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services
at Sanctuary for Families
Dorchen A. Leidholdt has directed the Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services at Sanctuary for Families since 1994. In 2015 working in partnership with more than 500 pro bono lawyers, the Center provided legal assistance to more than 6,000 women, men, and children. Ms. Leidholdt has been an activist and leader in the movement to end violence against women since the mid-1970’s. She has lectured internationally on a wide array of issues of gender violence and published numerous articles and book chapters and an anthology. She coedited the 4th, 5th, and 6th editions of the Lawyers Manual on Domestic Violence and the 1st edition of the Lawyers Manual on Human Trafficking. A former public defender who continues to represent gender violence survivors facing criminal charges, Ms. Leidholdt has taught Criminal Procedure at City University School of Law. In 1989, Ms. Leidholdt helped found the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, on whose Board she currently sits. Ms. Leidholdt holds a Masters Degree from the University of Virginia and a law degree from NYU Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Snow scholar.
Becky Bavinger currently works in global health at a NYC-based foundation. She received a Masters of Public Administration in International Nonprofit Management from NYU Wagner School of Public Service. Before moving to New York, Becky lived in Kolkata, India where she managed programs for Made by Survivors (a company that imports products made by survivors of sex trafficking) and also co-founded Destiny Reflection, a social enterprise that employs survivors of trafficking and domestic abuse. Becky holds a B.A. in Russian and Government from Georgetown University.
Restructuring the Bail and Pretrial Processes in NYC
The purpose of this memorandum is to recommend the restructuring of the pretrial process in New York City, specifically the bail system, in order to end discriminatory practices that disenfranchise poor communities. The way that bail amounts are set and that the NYC’s Criminal Justice Agency (CJA) allows bail to be collected forces defendants, and disproportionately socioeconomically struggling individuals, to seek out extrajudicial services in order to afford unreasonable bail amounts. This memo will propose three major changes to CJA’s pretrial processes. Specifically, CJA should  end the bail bond payment system in NYC,  expand bail payment methods, and  replace pretrial bail with pretrial support services for defendants. These changes will provide more support and fewer tax dollars for arraignment procedures so that disenfranchised minorities no longer bear the unfair burden of unreasonable bail amounts.
The use of cash bail in New York City unfairly hurts poor communities, fails to evaluate the monetary constraints faced by defendants, and fails to establish justice. Defendants unable to pay bail are detained in jail until called to an arraignment hearing. Between 1992 and 2006, across the most populated U.S. counties, “average bail amounts have increased by over $30,000 […] posing a serious concern for indigent populations” (“Bail Fail” 10). With higher bail amounts, individuals struggling financially will similarly fail to pay bail at higher rates. Compounding this issue, studies have shown that “African Americans ages 18 through 29 received significantly higher bail amounts than all other types of defendants” (15). Not only do increased bail amounts most negatively impact the poor – bail amounts are also biased against black defendants. Additionally, the setting of NYC bail amounts does not take into account defendants’ abilities (or lack thereof) to pay. New York typically sets bail amounts lower than the national average, though “even when bail is set comparatively low – at $500 or less, as it is in one-third of nonfelony cases – only 15 percent of defendants are able to come up with the money to avoid jail” (Pinto). Subsequently, approximately “45,000 people are jailed each year” in NYC for being unable to pay bail (Pinto). Finally, the existing bail and pretrial system fail to establish justice. In 2013, 62% of the U.S. jail population was comprised of non-convicted individuals (Subramanian 5). This high rate of detaining defendants is shocking, and is worsened by the knowledge that “longer pretrial detention periods were associated with an increase in [new criminal activity]”: exposure to jail conditions for even a few days can increase future criminal activity rates by 40% (Lowenkamp 10; Talbot). Being unable to pay bail and accordingly being held in jail could even mean losing a job, a home, a family (“Bail Fail” 13; Talbot). Two examples speak to the complexity of how bail disproportionately effects certain communities. In 2015, Sandra Bland was charged with traffic and conduct violations, and her bail amount was set at $5,000; an extrajudicial bail bond would have cost her $500, which she was unable to afford (Burdeen). In fact, almost half of Americans would be unable to pay even $400 in such a situation (Burdeen). Bland subsequently died while in police custody. Similarly, New York City teenager “Kalief Browder was sent to Rikers Island when he was 16 years old, accused of stealing a backpack. Though he never stood trial or was found guilty of any crime, he spent three years at the New York City jail complex, nearly two of them in solitary confinement” (Schwirtz). After the charges were dropped and Browder was released, he later killed himself. Both of these individuals were black, both unable to afford bail, and both of their financial situations were ignored when their bail amounts were set. The long-term effects of incarceration are dire, and require that bail no longer disproportionately effect the lives of underprivileged defendants.
The bail bond system in NYC, as it stands, should be eradicated. The use of bail bonds is detrimental to defendants’ finances – bail bonds carry significant interest rates – and is unnecessarily extrajudicial regarding how these bonds are regulated and collected. First, a defendant who obtains a bail bond and then has to pay it is forced to comply with interest rates, making the already unaffordable bail amount even more costly (to say nothing of innocent individuals who pay a bail bond and lose that money once charges are dropped). In New York State, the Department of Financial Services outlines bail bond interest rates, which are 10% charged for the first $3,000 of bail, then 8% charged up to $10,000 of bail, and above that amount %6 is charged for bail up to $100,000 (“Bail Bonds”). Not only are these interest rates exorbitantly high, but bail bond businesses also prove to be “unlikely to help someone post a low bail, since the businesses make their profits by taking a percentage” (Jorgensen). Thus, those most in need of monetary support are less likely to be offered it through bail bonds, and when they are, the interests rates on bail bonds are tiered so that bond rates more negatively impact minor offenders (faced with lower bail amounts). Second, the role of bail bondsman has taken on an outlaw-like character, as reality TV shows depict bondsmen hunting defendants as if engaging in competitive sport (Lee). Bondsmen are state-licensed, in New York by the Department of Insurance, whose website interchanges the “Bondsmen” title with “Bounty Hunter,” defined as “an individual or entity who (for a fee) apprehends individuals who have failed to appear on bond or bail and surrenders them to the appropriate jail or to court” (NYS Division). The Merriam-Webster online dictionary, meanwhile, provides one definition of bounty hunter as “one who hunts predatory animals for the reward offered” (Dictionary). The power of bail bondsmen is founded in the immense interests rates allowed of bail bonds and in the controversial and even violent nature of the position, which is state-sanctioned yet extrajudicial.
The bail system should be expanded to allow for alternative methods of payment. CJA should allow the use of credit cards for bail payments. Defendants given the option of posting bail with a credit card were over 60% more likely to be detained for significantly less time (Phillips 33). Additionally, defendants who posted bail via credit card were not any more likely to fail to appear as were defendants lacking this option (37). As of one year ago, the maximum bail amount allowed to be posted on credit in NYC was $2,500, and this option did not exist at all in Brooklyn (43). Given that credit card bail in NYC has proven successful in creating access to bail payments and in limiting jail time, this option should be expanded throughout the city and beyond the previous $2,500 bail amount limit.
The New York City arraignment process should prioritize pretrial supervision and treatment programs in lieu of pretrial bail. CJA should model pretrial processes on the pretrial system in Washington, D.C., whose “policy is based on the premise that decisions about release from jail should be made according to flight risk and public safety concerns rather than setting a monetary bond that the defendant is unable to pay” (Kim 1, 20). The District reshaped its pretrial detention statute in the 1990s to ensure that bail amounts would be attainable by individuals (3). This pretrial system analyzes risk assessment measured via public safety concerns and concerns about defendants’ mental and physical health: D.C.’s system will even place defendants in supervision and treatment programs through external partnerships (9). While Washington’s pretrial services include twelve types of supervision programs, NYC’s pretrial initiatives include zero supervision and/or treatment programs (17). While D.C. focuses on individualized risk assessments, CJA measures risk only on a defendant’s potential failure to appear (12). In fact, New York City does not even have a formal pretrial detention statute. The pretrial system in place in Washington, D.C. better accounts for the individual states and needs of defendants, both of which are fully lacking in NYC’s pretrial system and should be amended accordingly.
There is ample evidence proving the benefits that stem from pretrial counseling and diversion programs. The short-term aim of pretrial services that incorporate counseling and support is to “divert offenders suffering from mental illness, alcohol and drug abuse, or co- occurring disorders” from the criminal justice system (Camilletti 3). Additionally, the long-term goal lies in “[eliminating] the factors that lead to an offender’s criminal behavior” (3). Naturally, defendants benefit from these programs: they are “more likely to be in the community than in jail or treatment centers 12 months after their initial crime,” and experience “positive mental health, substance abuse, and treatment outcomes” (3). These outcomes benefit communities: “these programs are both cost- and time-effective for the criminal justice system,” for they reduce costs by preventing unwieldy court dockets (“thus improving processing”), by “[reducing] overcrowding in prisons,” and by allowing “individuals participating in pretrial diversion programs to become productive members of society” (3). While there are up-front costs to these pretrial programs, such is outweighed by their positive impacts and long-term cost-cutting.
In conclusion, the pretrial services offered by CJA should be expanded as well as reformed. The bail bond system should be outlawed, bail amount setting should take into account the financial stability (or lack thereof) of defendants, and methods of bail payment should be expanded to include credit. Finally, the pretrial processes and rulings should be based not merely on flight risk, but also on the needs of defendants through pretrial support services. These measures will de facto lower incarceration rates in NYC, which in turn will lower funds required of the criminal justice system. The NYS Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has decried the state’s bail system, where “you have people who can’t make $500 bail who end up rotting in jails or prison, losing their jobs, being separated from their families, while they are absolutely no threat to anyone” (Jorgensen). If these suggested reforms are implemented, the NYC bail system will no longer unfairly capitalize on impoverished, minority defendants, creating a just justice system.
“Bail Bonds.” NYS Department of Financial Services. NewYorkState.gov. Web. <http:// www.dfs.ny.gov/insurance/
“Bail Fail: Why the U.S. Should End the Practice of Using Money for Bail.”Justice Policy Institute. Sept. 2012. Web. <http://www.justicepolicy.org/
Burdeen, Cherise Fanno. “Sandra Bland’s Death Shows Why Our Cash Bail System Is Unconscionable.” Msnbc.com. NBC News Digital. 09 Aug. 2015. Web. <http:// www.msnbc.com/msnbc/sandra-
Camilletti, Catherine. “Pretrial Diversion Programs.” Bureau of Justice Assistance: U.S. Department of Justice. 2010. Web. <https://www.bja.gov/
Jorgensen, Jillian. “New York State’s Top Judge: Bail System ‘Totally Ass-Backwards in Every Respect'” Observer News. 16 June 2015. Web. <http://observer.com/2015/06/
push- to- reform-backwards-bail-system-
Kim, KiDeuk, and Megan Denver. “A Case Study on the Practice of Pretrial Services and Risk Assessment in Three Cities.” The Urban Institute. 2011. Web. <http:// www.dccrimepolicy.org/images/
Lee, Ashley. “John Oliver Rips U.S. Bail System and Violent Bounty Hunter Reality Shows (Video).” The Hollywood Reporter. 8 June 2015. Web. <http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/
Lowenkamp, Christopher T., Marie VanNostrand, and Alexander Holsinger. “The Hidden Costs of Pretrial Detention.” Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Nov. 2013. Web. <http://www.arnoldfoundation.
“NYS Division of Licensing Services.” NYS Division of Licensing Services. Web. <http:// www.dos.ny.gov/licensing/
Phillips, Mary T. “New York’s Credit Card Bail Experiment.” New York City Criminal Justice Agency, Inc. Sept. 2014. Web. <http://issuu.com/
Pinto, Nick. “The Bail Trap.” The New York Times. The New York Times. 15 Aug. 2015. Web. <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/
Schwirtz, Michael, and Michael Winerip. “Kalief Browder, Held at Rikers Island for 3 Years Without Trial, Commits Suicide.” The New York Times. The New York Times. 08 June 2015. Web. <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/
Subramanian, Ram, Ruth Elizabeth Delaney, Stephen Roberts, Nancy Fishman, and Peggy McGarry. “Incarceration’s Front Door: The Misuse of Jails in America.” Vera Institute of Justice. July 2015. Web. <http://www.vera.org/sites/
Talbot, Margaret. “The Case Against Cash Bail.” The New Yorker. 25 Aug. 2015. Web. <http://www.newyorker.com/