UPDATED 12:21 AM PT – Thursday, August 4, 2022
New York officials are calling for tougher measures to deter recidivism in the city amid rising crime rates. During a press conference Wednesday, Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell called for changes to the bail system to make it easier to keep repeat offenders behind bars.
“This is not attacking some of the needed reforms that we have,” Adams said. “This is about a small number of people that are taking advantage of the existing laws to endanger our city.”
According to officials, the number of individuals arrested three or more times in a calendar year for crimes such as robbery, burglary and grand larceny has increased through the first six months of 2022. Sewell said repeat offenders have been shown their criminal behavior has no consequences as they’ve been through the system on several occasions.
“We are seeing tragedies every day on the streets of this city we love and serve,” voiced Sewell. “People are suffering and more and more are unnecessarily becoming victims. Victims of repeat offenders who have shown that their criminal behavior is given no consequences.”
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) August 3, 2022
Bail reform advocates are not ready to abandon their cause and maintain that the changes that took effect in 2020 should stay on the books.
“Let’s not tell New Yorkers all we’ve got to do is to lock up the black and brown people who are the children of the parents we locked up 20 years ago,” Public Advocate Jumaane Williams stated. “That’s not leadership and on top of that you want to lock them up on Riker’s Island, where people are dying on a regular basis waiting for their trial.”
Adams, Sewell and law enforcement officials are frustrated by the laws and claimed suspects like Gooding prove their point about the need to fix bail reform. Gooding, 53, who’s also known as Jamel White, served prison time for robbery and burglary convictions in Brooklyn, said police sources. His career of 101 arrests includes 88 busts since the bail laws took effect. Police sources said Gooding has 15 criminal convictions, including two for violent felonies, one for a non-violent felony and 10 for misdemeanors. Sources said Gooding has skipped court hearings at least 14 times.
Those on the NYPD’s top 10 recidivist list have between them been arrested 485 times since the bail reform laws took effect. Those 485 arrests amount to 75 percent of the suspects total histories of 642 arrests, the police numbers show. Officials also argued that judges must be allowed to consider the public safety threat a suspect poses when determining if they will be held in pre-trial custody.