New de Blasio plan: Let's just empty the jails

Somebody is really trying to make an impression on the national primary voters, but at what cost to his home city?

Bill de Blasio is an idea guy. Just ask him and he’ll tell you so himself. This seems to be particularly true when he’s bogged down in the 2020 Democratic primary polls at around, um… zero. But Hizzoner has clearly noticed how well criminal justice reform has been going over nationally so it seems he’s trying to jump on that bandwagon. This time it’s a plan to expand the city’s no-bail Supervised Release Program. And if he gets his way, the number of teens charged with all manner of crimes, up to and including gun crimes, burglary and assault will triple. (NY Post)

Mayor Bill de Blasio hopes to “more than triple” the number of teens who are released from city jails with no bail on charges as serious as armed robbery, assault and burglary, The Post has learned.

New guidelines from the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice will also “significantly” expand the number of adults eligible for de Blasio’s no-bail Supervised Release Program, according to a memo sent to top city judges this month and obtained by The Post.

The policy changes — which take effect on Saturday — will let defendants between ages 16 and 19 qualify for the program’s Youth Engagement Track, which is now capped at age 17, except in Brooklyn.

This program was already controversial and not popular with the police, but the juvenile version of it only covered youth up to 17 years of age. Now he wants to increase the upper age limit to 19 and add in a list of more serious crimes. Anyone qualifying for the program who is arrested will be eligible to be released without bail. They also won’t have to demonstrate any permanent ties to the community. There’s a related program for adults that de Blasio wants to similarly expand.

Anyone who speaks to the members of the NYPD (or just lives in the city, really) can tell you that for a lot of these suspects, by the time they reach 17 they’re already involved in gang activity and likely will be for life. At 19 you’re already legally considered an adult, and probably even further down that path. How a 19-year-old is being lumped in with suspects who are still technically children is a mystery.

I realize this is a popular topic on the left and it’s understandable why de Blasio would want to latch onto this to pump some gas in his presidential primary campaign. But unlike some of the other candidates who are just making campaign promises, the Mayor is actually in charge of the largest city in the country. His decisions affect literally millions of people every day. This is reckless and irrational.

The city has been on track to keep reducing crime for several years now, and God bless them for that. But they didn’t do it by letting gang members go free as soon as they’re picked up. And we’re not talking about kids who get caught smoking pot or getting in a shoving match in the park. Do you really want to let people found committing armed robbery back out on the streets the same day?

We have a bail system for a reason. It’s definitely problematic that the poorest residents have a more difficult time making bail, but having that bail bond hanging over your head provides considerable incentive to stick around and show up for court. To be honest, I’m quite open to the idea of either reducing some bail levels or possibly adding to the list of minor crimes where you can be released without bail. But some of these crimes are far from minor. Anyone willing to commit armed robbery is a dangerous person and needs to be held accountable. De Blasio needs to stop grandstanding for the presidential primary audience and focus on what’s best for the citizens of Gotham.