New York Jail Populations and Crime on the Decline

New York’s jail population has fallen to its lowest point in nearly a quarter-century, this according to a New York Times article published this week. They say the number of people admitted to the city’s jail system has also “fallen below 100,000 for the first time since 1987.”

While crime is falling too, the decrease in jail population is seen as a result of many factors—including efforts to divert people away from doing time, on both the jail and prison level. Alternative penalties like probation, diversion, and community service has meant less time served for low level offenders overall while lower violent crime has led to fewer going to prison.

Special drug courts and other nonviolent specialty courts seek to find alternatives to jail. These specialty courts use personnel from all sorts of state and local level agencies to find the right solutions to crimes. For instance, a charge in drug court could lead to treatment, employment training, and other such rehabilitative sanctions rather than jail time.

The city recognizes just how expensive it is to house people in the jail and after the local jail population peaked in the early 90s with the crack epidemic, they have been battling to get it under control. According to the Times article, the daily cost of housing a jail inmate is around $210.

The charge you face will dictate just how long you stay in jail and any potential alternatives you have. If you are facing a more serious charge, you could spend a greater number of days in jail. Often times, in preparation for a case, you will spend many days in jail pre-trial though you will get credit for those days if you are later sentenced to prison.

If the charges against you are not serious or you have a clean criminal record, I could argue to the court to have you released on your own recognizance (an OR bond). This simply means you don’t have to put up money for bail and are released on the promise that you will return for future court dates.

Specialty courts can also improve your ultimate outcome. From mental health courts to drug courts and domestic violence courts, there are many within the city. I can help you determine where your case will be heard.

When you are facing jail time or a potential prison sentence, you need a defense attorney advocating on your behalf. Contact me today to discuss the details of your case and the options available to you.

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