Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) faced backlash at the start of the week for advocating for lowering bail amounts set by prosecutors in the New York City court system, which comes just a day after a man who was out on “inappropriately low” bail killed at least five people and injured well over 40 others during a Christmas parade in a different part of the country.
“We have grave concerns that excessive bail amounts are leading to unnecessary pretrial detention and contributing to a humanitarian crisis in New York City’s jail system, particularly on Rikers Island,” AOC and two other members of Congress said in a statement. “Fourteen people have died this year in the custody of New York City Department of Correction. Condemning thousands of individuals to languish in an environment plagued by persistent overcrowding and mounting violence as they await trial is not acceptable, and risks violating the federal civil rights of these individuals. If these conditions are not addressed, federal intervention may be necessary to protect detainees from additional harm.”