With the state of New York set to eliminate cash bail for many criminals, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has a plan to entice accused criminals to show up for court dates: Give them gift cards and baseball tickets, according to the New York Post.
Eliminating cash bail? New criminal justice reform measures included in the state's 2020 budget deal include the elimination of cash bail for some nonviolent criminals. Some examples of nonviolent crimes include criminally negligent homicide, aggravated assault on a child under the age of 11, and selling drugs on school grounds.
The new law will take effect Jan. 1, but in some cases it will be applied retroactively to people who are currently incarcerated.
Why would they get gift cards? New York City's Office of Criminal Justice is coordinating with a criminal justice nonprofit to provide tickets to New York Mets games and gift cards to defendants who show up for court dates.
"In a world where we want speedier trials and we want the justice system to work, if small incentives are part of what actually makes it work, then that's a smart policy," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday, according to WLNY-TV.
The city is unaware of how much this incentive program will cost. A previous program that gave gift cards to defendants who took surveys about their court experiences cost the city $800,000.
How is this program being received? State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb said the program "threatens public safety and is a disservice to law-abiding citizens."
"With every law that New York Democrats roll back, our streets become less safe," Kolb said. "Their platform that caters to convicts and protects hardened criminals puts the rest of us in danger."
A senior staffer in Manhattan Criminal Court said, "You're literally rewarding them for committing a crime.''
An NYPD officer in Queens told the New York Post, "It is bad enough that [suspects] have to be reminded [to show up to court], but to be rewarded is ludicrous."