Bail Reform laws are allowing murderers to walk free and roam our city’s streets
By Madeline Brame
Reprinted with author’s permission
My name is Madeline Brame, Chairwoman of the NYS Victims Rights Reform Council, State Director of BLEXIT New York and unfortunately mother of a homicide victim.
In 2018 my oldest son, Sgt. Hason Correa, US Army, Afghanistan War Retired Veteran, was brutally stabbed to death by 4 people he did not know, nor had he done them any harm. Hason was kicked, punched, stomped and stabbed 9 times with the fatal stab being directly through his heart. Hason’s father was also brutally assaulted and stabbed 12 times by the same 4 individuals when he tried to come to Hason’s aid. Hason died at the scene. His father was also unresponsive when EMS arrived however was resuscitated and underwent a series of major life saving surgeries that have left him with injuries that cannot be reversed. Of the 4 defendants, 3 are siblings, 2 brothers and their sister, the 4th is their male friend. All are between the ages of 36-40 years old; the entire incident was captured on video. The 3 men are currently being held on Rikers Island without out bail pending trial because they are all repeat predicate violent felony offenders. The sister, Mary Saunders is currently free on a drastic bail reduction from $750,000 down to $12,000 due to language (least restrictive means) and provisions (needs to home with her children, work & take care of her sick mother) in the Bail Reform Law. She was released from Rikers Island Dec. 23, 2019. She spent Christmas home with her family and children while my sons 3 small children visited their father’s grave at Calverton National Cemetery, Calverton, NY to lay a wreath on his grave. All 4 are charged with 1st Degree Gang Assault, 2nd Degree Murder, 1st Degree Attempted Murder & 1st Degree Assault. Almost 4 years later no trial date has been set.
When I saw Mary Saunders, who is charged and indicted for murder, released from jail because of Bail Reform I knew immediately NYC was in store for a blood bath and all out assault on the innocent.
My son’s death is the catalyst that propelled me into becoming a victim advocate and a strong voice against Bail Reform. I have seen over the past 2 ½ years crime raise disproportionately in black and brown communities. From shootings to poop being smeared in a woman’s face. Career criminals are being released back to the communities they commit their crimes with no services, no housing, no jobs and no resources. They are free to do whatever they want to whoever they want whenever they want with no accountability or consequences. Lower level offenses always lead to more serious offenses including murder if left unchecked. We see this happening on a daily basis. Repeat offenders raping, robbing, assaulting, car jacking, jumping the turnstile with no consequences destroying the quality of life in our communities and making it unsafe for everyone. There is no such thing as a victimless crime. Every time a crime is committed, no matter how big or small, there is a victim attached to it.
Elected officials choose to ignore and double down on the death and destruction this failed policy has caused. They lack the political will to admit a mistake was made and take the necessary steps to correct it. I personally don’t think everybody in jail belongs in jail. Offenders with drug and alcohol addiction as well and offenders with mental illness. Those people can be better served in long term in patient Therapeutic Communities where they can get the services they need..
Criminals commit crime, it’s a lifestyle and what they do. Rapists rape, killers kill, thieves steal, women beaters beat women, child molesters molest children. There should be a place for them, it’s called jail, not the streets free to continue on their crime sprees, hurting innocent people. Crime is driven by a mindset, attitude, thought and behavior. Guns are an inanimate object, completely useless without the mindset behind the trigger.
I advocate for the complete repeal of Bail Reform and replaced with a more comprehensive Criminal Justice Reform Policy that:
1. Puts the safety of the public first
2. Victims and their families with policies that will help strengthen and protect the rights for victims of all crime
3. Offenders with educational programs that will help them avoid incarceration.
In closing I would like to speak directly to the people in the black and brown communities. Until we as a people begin to stand together and speak out against this assault on our families and children, nothing will change. We will see more babies being shot, more body bags and more sidewalk shrines. We must hold ourselves accountable for what happens within the 4 walls of our homes. It begins and ends there. Our children are our responsibilities. Don’t let this generation be the next generation of “mass incarceration.” May God Always Go Before Us.