As NYC Launches Bail Facilitator Program, Critics Say It Falls Short of Law’s Requirements

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Fordham Law and Stein alumna Elizabeth Bender ’11, a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society’s Decarceration Project, was quoted in an article by The Legal Aid Society critically analyzing NYC’s new bail facilitator program.

Elizabeth Bender, staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society’s Decarceration Project, said DOC is also failing to comply with the portion of the law requiring it provide inmates with written information about how to post bail, and an opportunity to access their personal money and accounts within 24 hours.

“I think we’ve seen in various areas that DOC tends to create what looks like a functioning system to deal with either settlements or local laws that govern how they operate,” Bender said. “And they’ll create a system, but either the system is not functioning properly and/or, even if it were, it would fall short” of what the law requires.

“I think here we’re seeing both of those things happening.”

Of the facilitator program DOC says is currently in place, Bender said: “We don’t have any details to make sure that system is working, and they seem to be reluctant to provide them.”

DOC officials insist facilitators are currently operating in all city courts and correction facilities, ready and able to help bail-eligible inmates.

The job is currently being filled by corrections offers—city workers who usually patrol Rikers Island and other detention facilities, according to DOC.

The agency also acknowledges there is room for improvement in the program’s application.

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