Suspects busted for serious crimes in the Big Apple are more likely to get arrested again since the state’s controversial bail reform measures took effect, according to a new study.
Researchers at John Jay’s Data Collaborative for Justice determined that 47% of those arrested on a felony charge were later busted again in the first two years after the reforms were enacted on Jan. 1, 2020 — an uptick over the pre-reform figure of 44.6%.
The number of accused felons who were then re-arrested on a violent felony charge was also 3.3 percentage points higher (17.3%) with bail reform than before (14%), the study found. And those cuffed on a firearms charge after having been hit with a felony also climbed, at 3.6%, following the reforms, compared to 2.8%.
The reforms prohibited judges in the state from setting bail on misdemeanors and non-violent felonies, allowing most defendants to remain free while their cases are pending.
The researchers examined more than 15,000 criminal cases in the wake of the reforms and compared them to similar cases in 2019.
When taking into account both felony and misdemeanor arrests together, the study showed that recidivism dipped following the bail changes. The overall re-arrest rate for all defendants during the two-year period fell to 43.8% compared to the pre-reform figure of 50%, the researchers found.
“Eliminating bail for most misdemeanor and non-violent felony charges reduced recidivism,” said researcher Rene Ropac, who co-authored the study. “But we did not find reductions for violent felony arrests of firearm re-arrests.”
The study comes amid an ongoing debate over the statute, which was approved by state lawmakers in April 2019 and took effect the following year — with pols like Mayor Eric Adams repeatedly calling for tweaks to keep more recidivists locked up.
Examples of repeat offenders who wreak havoc after getting cut loose abound.
In a report last year, The Post found that one in every five crooks busted for burglary or theft in New York last year got re-arrested on a felony charge within 60 days.
The statistics reveal increases in alleged recidivism as high as three times what they were in 2017 — before New York’s controversial bail-reform law took effect in 2020.
In September, career criminal Waheed Foster became the poster boy for the failed reforms after he was busted in a caught-on-video beating of a woman at a Queens subway station.
Foster, 41, was still on parole for an assault when he was arrested on misdemeanor charges in August — but was freed by a judge under the reforms, and was ultimately charged with the sickening assault on the woman the following month.
Michael Rempel, the study’s other author, said it wasn’t meant as a response to the political dispute over the statues — it’s simply a scientific look at the statistics.
“This study’s findings and the discussion of high recidivists isn’t necessarily contradictory,” Rempel said. “We are not looking at overall re-arrest rates and saying overall these kinds of people are re-arrested often. We’re doing a test of bail reform.”
Among the other findings were that defendants with prior criminal histories or pending cases were significantly most likely to get re-arrested — both under bail reform and before.
Since bail reform went into law, 61.7% of defendants with criminal histories were busted again, compared to 26.1% without a record.
Before the reforms, 62.5% of career criminals were re-arrested, compared to 37.7% for those without a rap sheet.
The same held true for suspects with pending cases — 68.8% were arrested on a new charge under the reforms, compared to 39.4% for those without another case.
Before the reforms, the numbers were 62.8% and 47.7%, respectively.
The reforms, which were later tweaked to make more cases eligible for bail, nonetheless remain a hotly debated issue, with critics blaming it for spikes in crime and recidivism.
“Bail was designed to ensure people return to court,” one law enforcement source said. “The poor cannot afford bail so in theory was a fair chance. However, what it did was now allow those poor criminals to keep committing crimes.
“Damned if you keep them in jail awaiting trial,” he said. “Damned if you release because they continue to commit crimes. It’s a broken system.”
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, who has long advocated putting more teeth in the law, said Wednesday that more needs to be done to curb recidivism.
“I’ve never wavered in that judges should have the ability to determine if someone has a public safety risk when they determine whether to remand, set bail or release,” Sewell said.
“We have to be able to address recidivism. We have people walking in our stores getting appearance tickets and going back in the same day and there has to be a way we can aggregate those crimes to be able to charge a higher offense.”
Additional reporting by Bernadette Hogan and Tina Moore