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Major Expansion of CJA's Bail Expediting Program Announced

Posted on Sep 5, 2017

On September 1 the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice announced the expansion of CJA’s bail expediting program (BEX), which for over 30 years has been helping people held on small amounts of bail to gain release in the City’s four largest boroughs.  BEX is not a bail fund, but its staff contact friends and relatives of people who were not able to make bail at arraignment, and then work with them to facilitate bail making.  This includes making sure that defendants are not bused to Rikers Island before someone can arrive with the bail money.  In recent years, BEX has been instrumental in helping about 1,300 people each year to avoid jail.

Currently, only those with bail set at $3,500 or less ($2,500 in the Bronx) are eligible for BEX.  The City of New York is providing $500,000 to expand eligibility to everyone with bail set at $5,000 or less in all boroughs except Staten Island.  In addition, the expansion will enable BEX staff to hold defendants at court for a longer period of time before they are put on the bus to Rikers Island, to give family members more time to collect the bail money.  These changes will enable approximately 700 more people to avoid jail with CJA’s help each year, bringing the total to roughly 2,000 annually.  Aubrey Fox, CJA’s Executive Director, couldn’t be happier.  “We are delighted by the Mayor’s support, which will allow us to expand this important program,” he said. 

The New York Times recently (August 29) described the work of the BEX staff in a wonderful article about the upcoming expansion of the program.  In it, CJA’s Pretrial Associate Charlene Davis was featured.  Charlene, who works in the BEX program at the Bronx Criminal Court, described receiving calls from frantic family members asking about relatives who have been arrested.  The callers often do not know where to go or what to do.  Thanks to Davis and other BEX staffers, many relatives receive the help they need to navigate the process of paying bail.

Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, said in announcing the BEX expansion that “New York is committed to ensuring that no one is in the City’s jails if public safety does not require it.”   Reducing unnecessary pretrial detention has always been CJA’s mission, so the Agency is excited about this new opportunity to further this mission.

Click here to read the Press Release from the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice

Click here to read the article published by The New York Times

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