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NY bail law rollout prompts concern from probation officials

November 14, 2019

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Two probation directors from upstate New York raised concerns on Thursday about how sweeping changes to the state’s bail law will be implemented.

Delaware County Probation Director Scott Glueckert told state lawmakers that he doesn’t have the staff, infrastructure or office space to implement the bail changes. It goes into effect at the beginning of 2020.

The bail law, passed by lawmakers earlier this year, eliminates pretrial detention and money bail for the wide majority of misdemeanor and nonviolent felony cases. The changes are expected to reduce the number of people held in jail while awaiting trial.

A report from the Center for Court Innovation analyzed figures from April and found more than 2,000 inmates in New York City’s jail system alone would be released under the new bail law.

The law also allows the court to release a person under certain conditions, such as a travel or firearm restriction. Another condition would require a person to be in contact with a pretrial service agency.

“If we open up the floodgates, so to speak, and we have a large amount of people that are directed to report to us, again we simply do not have the infrastructure to do this come January 1,” said Robert Iusi, the probation director in Warren County. He argued that implementation of the bail law needs to be adequately funded.

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Ryan Tarinelli is a corps member for Report for America, a nonprofit organization that supports local news coverage in a partnership with The Associated Press for New York. The AP is solely responsible for all content.