Of the more than 7,000 prisoners confined daily at Rikers Island awaiting trial, some 1,400 have been held for more than one year. Several hundred have been forced to wait more than two years.1
The vast majority of such long-term detainees, all presumed innocent, are too poor to pay the bail that enables other accused persons to live and prepare for trial outside of jail. Yet even for those so confined by poverty, there is a mechanism to achieve freedom while the criminal process moves at its glacial pace toward resolution of a case. It is the law of speedy-trial. Both state law and the federal constitution present paths to release pending trial.
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