We are all for helping those in need and those in trouble, whether they are young, middle-aged or senior. But it seems clear that the parole reforms made last year that are designed to keep those who are not a danger to others out of jail, either are just not being applied correctly or just don’t work. Week after week we hear of violent offenders who were arrested, and then put right back on the streets, only to commit more crimes, and either equally as violent as what they were originally arrested for, or even worse. This country was horrified earlier this week when a disturbed criminal who had just committed a violent offense weeks ago, drove into the midst of a holiday parade, killing 5 innocent holiday well-wishers and injuring 40, some of which are still in very serious condition. We wish this was an unusual event. “Shots fired” was heard this week in the City of Newburgh, over and over and over again. There have been at least a dozen incidents in the past year in Orange and Rockland counties where very serious felony offenders were released to their communities, only to commit new crimes practically before the ink was dry on their release papers.
Yes, we need to do our best to help restore troubled people to be good functioning citizens. Yes, we need to continue to develop better support systems for teenagers and young adults who are growing up in communities that also have troubled adults. Much has been done along these lines in our local communities. BUT WE ALSO HAVE AN EQUALLY SERIOUS RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT THE LAW ABIDING RESIDENTS OF OUR COMMUNITIES. And it seems clear to us that the new bail reform laws are not succeeding in keeping many every day citizens safe.
We believe that last year’s bail reforms should be repealed. Try again, but with more assurance that serious offenses will not result in Misdemeanor Charges. And we must take a closer look at what is happening with those who have been arrested and incarcerated. Yes, from time to time we hear wonderful stories of those whose lives have turned around. But what of the others. Are we doing all we can to help them become fully reformed. And if not, then change the programs, but don’t just let severely disturbed people out because it’s just too much trouble and too costly to house them.