WASHINGTON (TND) — Bail reform is happening in major cities across the country, even as law enforcement officials sound the alarm that it could be fueling a spike in crime.
The biggest complaints about this come from police chiefs and sheriffs nationwide. The latest to join the list are a police chief in Oakland, California who made his point with some startling videos of violent crimes in progress.
In Oakland, the police chief released stirring videos showing a shootout that led to a grisly car crash. Chief Leronne Armstrong has blamed a flood of guns and a swell of criminals released from jail because of lax bail policies from local judges and prosecutors.
Across the country, big cities and some states aren’t requiring any bail before letting non-violent offenders out of jail back onto the street and law enforcement is warning that it's emboldening criminals.
“This has become a revolving door,” Armstrong said.
In Los Angeles, for the second time, voters are trying to oust the top prosecutor there, citing loose bail policies and in New York, the state’s bail reform law is hamstringing prosecutors.
“We are seeing individuals who are basically not even showing up in court,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said. “Going back out and committing other crimes.”
But criminal justice reform advocates say there is no actual data linking bail reform to the ongoing crime wave.
“Attacks on bail reform and attempts to link it to a rise in crime are false,” said Katie Schaffer, Director of Organizing for advocacy at the Center for Community Alternatives.
But in the Empire State, concerns about progressive criminal justice reform are becoming a political liability for Democrats.
New York Mayor Eric Adams has publically opposed the state’s bail law and last week, Gov. Kathy Hochul pressed the legislature to make changes.
Some Democrats have strongly resisted that while Republicans have accused the governor of not going far enough.
Outside of New York, Democrats nationwide are concerned that rising crime and criminal justice could be huge hurdles for them to overcome in the upcoming mid-term elections.
Republicans — particularly in those states seeing a spike in violent crime — are vowing to make that a signature issue.