New York City’s supervised release program works as a solution to bail, giving individuals a path away from jail time if they can’t afford cash bail. Is it the solution our community needs or just a bandaid to the problem?
Instead of going to Rikers, accused people are set up with a social worker that can help with services for housing, mental health, and substance abuse. So far more than 50,000 people have avoided Rikers Island and neighboring city jails through this program. But should this really be applauded?
Even though this program has worked for many individuals, it still functions as another way to police citizens. The program is essentially another criminal database where one wrong move or missed check-in with a social worker could mean being entrenched further into the criminal justice system.
While supervised release programs are a better alternative than the cash bail system, the reality is that people are still being oppressively policed. How can we work to find community solutions that don’t include carcerality?