Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey seems open to some type of change to the money bail system for criminal defendants, but he does not appear to have yet developed any plan or proposal to do so. He has read the Lippman Report, which concludes that the City jails on Rikers Island should be closed and replaced with jails throughout the five boroughs, and disagrees with its conclusions although he shares much of its analysis of Rikers’ problems. We spoke during a Bronx press conference Tuesday.
Earlier in the press conference Massey expressed concern for defendants held on Rikers for more than a year without trial. Many of those defendants are unable to make bail, even seemingly low amounts required for bail in some cases. When I asked if he supported efforts to end or significantly change the current bail system Massey offered that “we need to look at” and “make improvements,” saying that defendants should be able to get through the system more quickly and fairly. He similarly demurred on whether he supports efforts at a City-financed bail fund. He expressed empathy for those caught in the system, saying that “New Yorkers have a heart” and concerning people who “aren’t career criminals … we’re gonna help them back.”
Massey said that he’s read the Lippman Report and talked with experts, leading him to support “ending the facility that we now call Rikers” but building new facilities on Rikers Island rather than replacing the current Rikers jails with jails spread around the City. Until recently, Mayor de Blasio held a similar view.
Here’s our exchange: