Advocates Call on NYS to End Bail Bond Industry after NYC Adopts Consumer Protections

People impacted by predatory commercial bail practices, community groups & elected officials support City Council consumer protection bills and call on New York State to eliminate the industry   

The NYC Council passed two bills on July 18, 2018 that will provide consumer protections to vulnerable New Yorkers trying to pay money to get their loved ones out of Rikers Island and other City jails. These bills come as a response to routine bad acts by the Commercial Bail Bond Industry.

Mobilization for Justice is a member of the Bail Bonds Accountability Coalition, which released the following statement in response to the passage of this legislation.

The commercial bail bond industry exists in just two countries in the world — the U.S. and the Philippines — and siphons off at least $20 million a year from mostly low-income communities of color in New York City. Because the Industry is primarily regulated by the State of New York these bills (Intros 510 and 724) represent most of what New York City alone can do to rein in the industry and protect consumers. We are proud to support them as they will provide consumers with basic information about the risks and potential pitfalls associated with commercial bail bonds. We look forward to working with other municipalities to pass similar legislation to protect consumers around the state; for as long as the industry survives it’s important that the harms it causes to communities are minimized.

Now that we’ve exhausted avenues for local reforms, the responsibility (and our attention) falls to the State Legislature, Governor Cuomo and the Department of Financial Services, who must take the necessary actions to eliminate the industry, provide redress for people who have been harmed and to create non-predatory structures to ensure that the end of the industry results in both decarceration and a commitment from the state to meet the needs of people who may otherwise have looked to the commercial bail bond industry as the only avenue they had to get someone out of jail.

We look forward to working with the City Council, the Mayor and the Department of Consumer Affairs to ensure the bills passed today are implemented to the greatest possible effect.”

The NYC Council Committee report on the bills is available here.