credit_card_bail_payment_feesThe Progressive Caucus supported the legislation through their legislative agenda.

New York, NY – The New York City Council today passed legislation to eliminate fees associated with paying bail by credit card in New York City. Introduction 1199, introduced by Council Members Keith Powers, Vice-Chair of the Progressive Caucus, and Rory Lancman, removes the 2.49% non-refundable fee charged on credit card bail payments made online, and the 8% fee charged on credit card payments made in-person. The Progressive Caucus pushed for colleague support for this legislation as a part of its 2018-2021 legislative agenda, which includes criminal justice reform as a key campaign for this session.

“With the passage of Introduction 1199, New York City takes a positive step forward in criminal justice reform. Fees on bail create unnecessary financial hardship on those in the justice system and their families, simply because they do not have cash on-hand. By eliminating the fees associated with paying bail, we eliminate an unnecessary financial hardship that has for so long been associated with the justice system,” said Council Member Keith Powers, Vice-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “As bail reform occurs in Albany, it is important that the city works to fill gaps in these various injustices. I thank my colleagues in the City Council for their support and look forward to continue working to progress in reform.”

“New York City’s bail system is long overdue for reform,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “A 2% fee may not sound like much, but for those who are already struggling to come up with money to pay the average misdemeanor bail of $1,000 or felony bail of $5,000, an extra $20-$100 can mean the difference between spending days in jail or not. It is unacceptable that in a progressive place like New York City we have policies that prey on the poor by criminalizing not having cash. Introduction 1099 is a positive step in the right direction reforming some of the unfair and vindictive policies of the bail system. Thank you to Council Member Powers for taking on this issue and working to reform it we must begin by passing Introduction 1199.”      

“No company should be profiting off of a person’s need for a fair trial, and no family should have to face undue barriers in trying to bring their loved ones home,” said Council Member Stephen Levin, Member of the Progressive Caucus. “I applaud Council Members Powers and Lancman for advancing today’s legislation and bringing our communities more justice in the process.”

“It is unfair that New York City holds thousands of people, who have not been found guilty of a crime, behind bars because they cannot afford bail. Families should be able to post bail without further constraints of having to pay transaction fees, which poses as an additional financial burden; especially in low-income communities of color. This is why I am co-sponsoring  Intro 1199, which would remove the 2.49% fee charged on credit card payments of cash bail made online, and the 8% fee charged on credit card payments made in-person,” said Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Member of the Progressive Caucus.

“We cannot address comprehensive criminal justice reform without working to overhaul our current bail processes. Buying your way out of jail is an immoral system that disproportionately benefits the wealthy and punishes low income individuals! To add additional fees, ranging from a 2.49% – 8% fee on cash bail posted via credit card in person or online, is profiteering off our incarceration system and blatantly targets the most vulnerable New Yorkers. I support Intro 1199, and I commend Zero Profits Coalition, Council Member Powers and co-sponsor Council Member Lancman on this piece of legislation- I think this will be a big step in the right direction!” said Council Member Andrew Cohen, Member of the Progressive Caucus.

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