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This is how the process works in New York City when you are arrested by NYPD

April 27, 2018

A video journey through the criminal justice system

The experience of being arrested is all too common among the clients of nonprofit organizations. In order to serve them best, a thorough understanding of how they might have landed in jail is needed.

Minor offenses such as trespassing easily snare a homeless person. A parent can lose custody of a child by violating parole. An open container of an alcoholic beverage can doom a youth to months – if not years – of legal wrangling. Cases differ in the details, but the process is all the same in terms of what happens once they are taken into custody.

There are choices made along the way that can determine how much a client’s interaction with the criminal justice system will impact their lives, as reported earlier this month by City & State. Police officers can choose to arrest a person, issue a summons, or simply look the other way. Judges can have mercy and assistant district attorneys can choose to go easy. Acts of leniency can help individuals avoid getting caught up in what an independent monitor called the “culture of violence” that exists in Rikers Island.

As recently as May 2017, Gothamist reported that half of those in New York City jails were there because they could not make bail. Those held until the end of their cases are 92 percent more likely to be convicted, according to one report.

For about 9,000 people right now, the system pointed them in one direction – to jail. Here’s how they got there.

This post originally appeared in NYNMedia on April 27, 2018

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