Council Members Rivera + Brewer Press Conference May 30, DOC’s Transportation of Detained Individuals to Court

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On Tuesday, May 30 at 9:15 a.m., at City Hall Park, Council Member Carlina Rivera, Chair of the Committee on Criminal Justice and Council Member Gale Brewer, Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Investigations, will hold a press conference with colleagues and advocates ahead of an oversight hearing focused on the Department of Correction’s Transportation of Detained Individuals to Court, at 10 a.m.

The Oversight and Investigations unit of the City Council has gone to Rikers to witness the process for transporting detained individuals to court.

Timely transportation to court is part of Board of Correction’s minimum standards, outlined in Section 1-08 (b)(2): “Timely transportation shall be provided to people scheduled to appear before courts or administrative agencies. Vehicles used to transport people in custody must meet all applicable safety and inspection requirements and provide adequate ventilation, lighting and comfort.

About 87% of individuals incarcerated on Rikers are awaiting trial. In 2021, 69% of defendants were released on recognizance, 14% were released under supervision, 15% had bail set, and one% were remanded to the custody of DOC without bail.  Of the 14,545 individuals who had bail set in 2021, approximately 10 percent posted bail at their arraignments. For individuals who are admitted to DOC custody, section 9-146 of the administrative code requires DOC to determine whether they have other open criminal court cases, notify the court system of their incarceration, and transport them to all required court appearances for such cases.
Although the primary purpose of pretrial detention and monetary bail is to ensure individuals appear in court, the research into their effectiveness at preventing failure to appear is not conclusive. In 2019, 84% of individuals with summary arrests in New York City who were released pending trial made every scheduled pretrial court appearance, and 16% missed at least one.  Data provided to the Council by DOC indicates that, from January to March 2023, approximately 85% of people in custody who were scheduled to appear in court made it to the courthouse.  This suggests that individuals are about as likely to return to court if they are released pending trial, without the significant harms caused by even short stays in jail.

As Commissioner Molina said at the March 2023 budget hearings, the DOC’s MMR metric for “on-trial individuals in custody delivered to court on-time” do not include those defendants who refuse to travel to court. It only covers defendants on-trial who appear, and measures whether they were on time or late.

Council Member Rivera and Council Member Brewer are introducing legislation related to recording alleged refusals to attend court appearances, the appointment of a court production liaison, and reporting on court appearance transportation.

The Council oversight hearing will cover Oversight & Investigations Division Fieldwork, Data Issues and Concerns, Information Gaps, Discrepancies between Data, and more.

This hearing comes as the latest federal monitor report “reveals violent, life-altering incidents the last two weeks at Rikers.”

Please let me know if you’re able to make it, and if I can be helpful.

Thank you,

Eddie

Edward Amador

Office of Council Member Carlina Rivera

Director of Legislation and Communications

eamador@council.nyc.gov

212-788-7366 (o) | 646-389-8592 (c)

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