The Decarceration Project works to minimize unnecessary and costly pretrial incarceration of New York’s most vulnerable citizens through litigation and early intervention. Our strategy integrates legal and social work to fight excessive money bail and illegal detention orders through a dynamic approach:
- We identify clients who remain detained within 24 hours of their arrest with the goal of intervening in their case immediately and having them released as soon as possible.
- We link our clients with social workers who assess our client’s needs and help our clients get back to their community with the support they need.
- We begin work with the trial attorney to prepare litigation, including the filing of a writ of habeas corpus to challenge an illegal detention order.
- We resort to appellate litigation when the client remains incarcerated.
Our work positively and directly impacts marginalized people and communities of color by working to ensure that our clients are able to keep housing, employment, and sustenance for their families while they wait for trial. Our work is also practical. It minimizes unnecessary and costly pre-trial incarceration, restores the presumption of innocence, and helps disrupt an unjust criminal justice system, creating the space for systemic change.