Thousands of New Yorkers accused of low-level or non-violent crimes won't face the prospect of raising cash for bail under a plan that seeks to keep such suspects out of the troubled Rikers Island jail complex.
The $18 million city plan, detailed to The Associated Press ahead of the announcement on Wednesday, allows judges beginning next year to replace bail for low-risk defendants with supervision options including daily check-ins, text-message reminders and connecting them with drug or behavioral therapy.
Currently, about 41 percent of criminal defendants who pass through New York City courts annually are released on their own recognizance and another 14 percent, or 45,500 people, are held on bail.
About 87 percent of the 1,100 people on supervised release in already-existing city pilot programs return to court when they're supposed to, officials said.
Initial funding, provided by the Manhattan district attorney, allows for as many as 3,000 defendants charged with misdemeanors or non-violent felonies to bypass bail, letting them live with their families and keep their jobs while their cases wind through the courts. Officials say they would like to expand non-bail options to include thousands more.