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A view down a cell block hall at Rikers Jail in New York City. Photo: Courtesy of The City of New York

Over the course of two decades, New York City has locked up fewer people before trial. Pretrial admissions to local jails have also started to tend toward violent crimes, as opposed to drug charges. And those who are held before due process are kept for longer periods—and at greater bail amounts, according to a new report.

The trend in the Big Apple is different from the rest of the nation, where more people than ever before have been locked up as they await due process, according to findings by the researchers at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“As the number of New Yorkers held in Department of Correction custody has dropped sharply over 20 years, the profile of admissions to corrections custody has changed dramatically,” said Jeremy Travis, the president of John Jay.

The report, “Trends in Custody: New York City Department of Correction, 2000-2015,” is the sixth set of findings from the Misdemeanor Justice Project at John Jay. Previous reports have focused on misdemeanor arrests, criminal summons, pedestrian stops and all jail admissions, among other topics.

The latest group of findings shows “reform” in the Big Apple for people accused of crime who are awaiting the scales of justice to be weighed against them.

Yearly pretrial admissions into the NYC DOC fell from 97,068 in 1995 to 49,890 in 2015.

But those who are welcomed into the city’s jails are staying longer, and at higher bails. The average length of stay increased from 40 to 55 days from 2000 to 2015. That is highlighted by longer stints for those accused of violent crimes (89 days to 119 days), weapon charges (40 days to 72 days) and burglary (71 to 96 days).

The average bail amount also more than doubled, from $7,800 to $16,800. This was especially true for felony charges, which shot up from $12,600 to $26,000.

Jailing appears to be increasingly aimed at offenders who may be a public danger, with “more pretrial admissions for violent crimes than for felony drug crimes,” as the report notes. The number of pretrial admissions for felony drug charges far outpaced every other category, dropping 75.7 percent over the two decades, the researchers found.

New York City is bucking the trend. The national rate of pretrial incarceration admission rates has grown over the same time period. The annual pretrial admissions to jails grew from 6 million to 11.7 million from 1983 to 2013, according a research report by the Vera Institute of Justice.

The changes over the two decades have also come at a time of plummeting crime rates in New York City—which has proven to be “record low crime” over the last several years. Violent crimes dropped a staggering 70 percent from 1980 to 2015.

Nonetheless, calls for reform within the city’s corrections system continue. Melissa Mark-Viverito, the city council’s speaker, called for more diversion services, including drug treatment and juvenile alternatives for teens.

“As New York looks to close Rikers Island in the next decade, reforming pretrial detention is a critical step towards making our city more safe, just and compassionate,” said Richard Aborn, president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City.

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