NYC Council members: Suicide after 3 years in jail with no conviction spurs bail reform effort

Associated Press

New York City Council members say the death of a 22-year-old man who hanged himself after spending three years in jail without ever being convicted is spurring them to push for bail reform.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said Wednesday that the death of Kalief Browder this month "has been a wake-up call" about the deficiencies in the city's criminal justice system.

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Mark-Viverito spoke at a Council hearing on bail reform.

She earlier proposed a fund that would help pay bail for certain nonviolent defendants.

The bail fund is modeled on a charitable bail organization called the Bronx Freedom Fund.

James C. Quinn with the Queens district attorney's office urged the Council members not to create a bail fund. Quinn said a city-sponsored bail fund could "endanger public safety."