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Bail reform to force release of hundreds, possibly thousands, of county inmates statewide

Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol has been poring over four pages of crimes for which bail will soon no longer be set.

Posted: Nov 20, 2019 5:32 PM
Updated: Nov 20, 2019 6:01 PM

ORISKANY, N.Y. -- Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol has been poring over four pages of crimes for which bail will soon no longer be set. Maciol will have to release Oneida County Jail inmates charged with those crimes and awaiting trial, in order to comply with bail reform, which takes effect the first of the year.

"Criminally negligent homicide. Look at that. Manslaughter..." said Sheriff Maciol, going over the list in his office Wednesday. "He's in here on criminal possession of a controlled substance third, fourth, seventh, criminal use of drug parapharnelia. He's out the door."

Maciol says there's no court between Christmas and New Year, which will likely mean a chaotic December.

"So the first 20 days of December, not only for our office but for sheriff's offices around the state, it's gonna be total chaos, trying to get these people into court, getting modified commitment orders, getting release papers," says Maciol.

Maciol says it's likely he'll release between 93 and 157 county jail inmates the week of Dec. 16. He says a reduced inmate population doesn't mean it will cost less to run the jail, because several specialized units will still need to be staffed. Maciol can't find an upside to the new laws.

"If anyone thinks that someone being held in here from out of the area on drug possession charges, if anyone thinks that they're going to come back to court when we hand them the ticket when they leave here -- that's not going to happen," he added.

Herkimer County Sheriff, Chris Farber, expects to have to release 35% of his jail's inmate population. Otsego County Sheriff, Richard Devlin, expects to have to free up to 60% of his jail's inmates. 

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