After bail and discovery reform and the repeal of 50-a, Senate Codes Committee Chair Jamaal Bailey maps out an agenda.

NYS Senate

Jamaal Bailey represents a slice of the north central and northeast Bronx as well as parts of Westchester County.

Two years ago at this time, empowered by huge victories in the 2018 elections, Democrats were waiting to take control of the State Senate—and when they did, a prolific legislative season ensued, particularly when it came to criminal-justice reform. Bail laws were changed. Discovery rules were reshaped. In 2020, the reforms continued, with the controversial section 50-a law revoked, giving the public access to police officers’ disciplinary record.

Sen. Jamaal Bailey, the chairman of the Senate’s Codes committee and the author of 50-a repeal, joined WBAI’s Max & Murphy Show on Wednesday to discuss what’s next in the push for criminal-justice reform.

Bailey said he was pursuing a law to require the presence of counsel during youthful interrogations.

“If you look at what happened with the Exonerated Five, if we imagine a scenario where those individuals had counsel when they were being interrogated, maybe we never get to the terror that they faced,” he said, referring to the Central Park Five.

Bailey also noted bills by Sen. Zellnor Myrie addressing the expungement of criminal records and Sen. Brian Benjamin on technical violations of parole. “Those are things that we should be looking at,” Bailey said. “How can we get individuals who are returning home, back to society, post-incarceration, a legitimate chance – not just a ‘Here’s a MetroCard and $5’ type of chance – legitimate ways of contributing not only to their own families but to society at large?”

The big topic in Albany in 2021 will, of course be revenue—as in how to get more. And the big topic in the Bronx, where Bailey is now the Democratic party chairman, will be the 2021 elections. He discusses both in the conversation below. Or listen to the full show, which includes an interview of mayoral candidate Maya Wiley.

State Senator Jamaal Bailey

Max & Murphy Full Show of December 16, 2020

With reporting by Ben Max & Inés Yildiz