The city of New York will allow more young adults to get out of jail free on charges, including assault and battery and armed robbery, the New York Post reported.
Mayor Bill de Blasio's Office of Criminal Justice has developed new guidelines which his office hopes to allow three times as many teens to be released from jail with no bail. The policy takes effect Saturday.
It will also increase the number of adults who qualify for the mayor's no-bail Supervised Release Program.
What are the details?
The policy will expand the Youth Engagement Track to include young adults ages 18-19. It's currently capped at 17 for most of the city.
The program, which allows mostly "high-risk" teens charged with misdemeanors or nonviolent felonies to be released without bail, will expand to more serious and violent crimes including first- and second-degree robbery.
Miriam Popper, executive director of diversion initiatives for the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, expects the number of eligible teen defendants to more than triple, according to the Post.
Teens who are released with no bail will be "placed on an intensive supervision schedule in the first month," Popper wrote in a memo to judges earlier this month. Those who are placed in the program would also be required to undergo psychological counseling.
Why is the city expanding the program?
The Supervised Release Program expansion plays into de Blasio's controversial plan to close the Rikers Island jail complex.
"In our city, we have reduced our jail population about 30 percent already," de Blasio said during an interview on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday. "We are ending the era of mass incarceration in New York City."
What do opponents say?
A high-ranking New York Police Department official told the Post that de Blasio's administration adopted the new policies without considering the effect on "neighborhoods where people are being robbed and assaulted."
"Without bail, the perps will be thinking: 'I'm in and I'm out. Nothing's going to happen.' " the official said. "'What's the big deal?'"
"People who have never been a victim of crime, they really don't think about the consequences of this," the official added.
Court system sources for the Post said that many judges fear they could lose their jobs if they don't align with the program's more lenient guidelines.
"There's tremendous political pressure in this city, and it comes from the New York City government, it comes from the defenders who are emboldened," one courthouse source told the newspaper. "Judges feel the pressure."