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March 6, 2019

Dear Governor Cuomo, President Stewart-Cousins, and Speaker Heastie:

We are fifteen elected prosecutors who collectively represent over 16 million people across
twelve states.

We support ending money bail because safety, not wealth, should be the defining feature of the
pretrial justice system. Three out of every four people in New York cannot afford to pay the bail
amount that the judge sets at their arraignment. That means many people are jailed simply
because they are too poor to purchase their freedom. Ending the detention of people solely
because they are poor requires ending the use of money bail.

Ending the money bail system will also create positive ripple effects for families and
communities across New York. When bail is set it is often parents, spouses and siblings who
must beg and borrow, post a house or car as collateral, or empty savings accounts instead of
paying for rent or food to avoid jail for a loved one. The steep fees that go to the bail industry are
never recovered, and the economic instability that creates for many families makes New Yorkers
more vulnerable and less safe.

Simply ending the money bail system is not enough, though. New York needs an overhaul to its
bail system that will sharply decrease the number of people locked in jail each night. Hence we
also support establishing a presumption that people should be released pretrial for all but the
most serious offenses. The only people who should be detained pretrial are those who a judge
finds pose a specific, clear and credible threat to the physical safety of the community, or who
are a risk of intentionally evading their court dates.

Jails across New York frequently are over-capacity, and they are filled with people who do not
need to be there. This is not simply an injustice to the person needlessly detained, but a threat to
public safety. Research shows that people who spend even a short period in jail, as opposed to
being released pretrial, are more likely to commit a future crime. This makes sense. Jail is
traumatizing. Jobs are lost. Families can’t pay rent. For reasons big and small, people who are
away from their family, their job, and their community become more vulnerable and less stable.
That makes all of us less safe.

As prosecutors and law enforcement officials, we urge you to take this opportunity to make New
York a national model for pretrial justice reform by ending money bail and sharply reducing the
bloated jail population. So often our jobs require us to balance between safety and freedom, but
these pretrial reforms promote both values at once; they will make New Yorkers safer and more
free.

Thank you,

Aramis Ayala (Orange & Osceola County, FL); Wesley Bell (Saint Louis County, MO); Scott Colom
(16th Circuit Court, Mississippi); John Creuzot (Dallas County, TX); Satana Deberry (Durham County,
NC); Kim Foxx (Cook County, IL); George Gascon (San Francisco); Joe Gonzales (Bexar County,
TX); Eric Gonzalez (Brooklyn, NY) Lawrence Krasner (Philadelphia, PA); Stephanie Morales
(Portsmouth); Marilyn Mosby (Baltimore City); Rachael Rollins (Suffolk County, MA); David Soares
(Albany County, NY); Cy Vance (Manhattan, NY)