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Bail: Is the U.S. System Fair?

Bail: Is the U.S. System Fair?


In New York City in 2010 while on probation for a prior offense 16 year-old kalief Browder was arrested accused of stealing a backpack Browder and his family couldn’t afford to $3,000 bail so he had to sit in jail until his court hearing Because of court delays he spent three years there waiting only to have his case finally thrown out over a lack of evidence in 2015 Browder died by suicide with many pending the cause on years of physical and mental abuse he suffered while in jail as a result Bail is back in the national spotlight Bail is when you pay money to get out of jail while you wait for your trial it’s been practiced for centuries But critics think it creates a two-tiered justice system where the rich get to go home while the poor have to stay behind bars Those in favor of keeping bail argue it’s an Effective way of keeping potential criminals off the street so what’s the deal is America’s bail system fair or does it need reform The founding principle of the US justice system is fairness right innocent until proven guilty the right to a speedy trial that’s how it’s supposed to work in theory in practice Well check the setup in the US right now there are more than 450,000 people accused of a crime but not yet convicted of anything sitting in jail cells as they wait for their trials but a large portion of them remain behind bars simply because they can’t pay their bill Now there’s no national figure keeping track of exactly how many but in New York City and cases, when bail is set at $500 or less only 15% of defendants are able to come up with the money to avoid jail Now I don’t know about you but I’ve rarely ever have $500 on me I mean like That’s $5 on me right now so There’s no national bail system it can vary by state County even city but in general this is how it works if you get arrested A judge takes a look at your charge and makes a decision about what to do with you until your court date the judge has a few different options option 1 you’re released on your own recognizance Which means you simply promise to return the court now that can happen if it’s a low-level offense and there’s no prior criminal history Option 2 the judge makes you stay in jail in to your court hearing Now that’s actually pretty rare and is really only used for people, who are considered a danger to society option 3 the judge sets bail if you can pay it you’re let out of jail and if you show up to your You get that money back the idea is that you’re more likely to return if you have to cough up some cash and Depending on how serious the charge is bail can range from a couple hundred bucks to hundreds of thousands of dollars and it’s not unheard of for bail in some murder cases to reach into the millions If you don’t have enough money to cover bail you have to stay in jail into your court date now that can last a couple Days or even weeks and that doesn’t sound so great right well you can pay a commercial bail bondsman to cover the bail for you you pay around 10% of the total bail amount and the bondsman Agrees to pay the court the full amount if you don’t show up However that 10% is non-refundable so even if you show up to all your court dates and are proven innocent the bondsman keeps your money Now this is how most people cover their bail and it’s why the bail bond industry made over two billion dollars last year All right let us first take a look at Why there’s mounting pressure to get rid of bail as we said at the top of this video the whole system is coming under fire Because no matter the amount Bail will be way easier for a rich person to pay and a poor person you’re basically buying your way out of jail which is one of the most unfair things I can think of even if it’s a bail at four thousand dollars which is on the lower end you still need to pay a bondsman around four hundred bucks to cover it and not everyone’s got the kind of money lying around like I just told you I have $5 in my pocket right now and having to stay in jail can seriously Mess up your life remember it can be days or even weeks that you’re waiting people lose jobs, they can’t pay rent families can break apart for lower-level Offenses not making bail might even lead people to plead guilty even if they’re innocent They’d rather pay a fine or get probation just so they can get out of jail and get their life back together check out these stats from New York City and lower level cases where the defendants could afford bail or no bail was sent about half Were eventually convicted however when defendants were locked up until their cases were resolved the conviction rate jumped to 92% The main takeaway from the report let me quote it directly the data suggests that detention itself creates enough pressure to increase guilty pleas California is done with bail it recently passed a bill abolishing it statewide The bill still needs to get over a few legal hurdles but if it Does California will be the first and only state to completely get rid of bail instead California will use risk assessment tools basically they calculate each defendants real threat as a safety risk or flight risk using things like the defendants age current charges and criminal history People awaiting trial will be labeled low Medium, or high risk and a judge would then decide who goes free and who remains in jail while waiting for trial Okay, now let’s take a look at the arguments in favor of keeping the bail system the way it is replacing bail a risk assessment Tools might sound like a great idea but there are some serious Concerns about just how fair they really are because judges still have to interpret the results like What if the to label is a bunch of people medium risk but the judge decides to keep them all behind bars into the court Dates instead of reducing the number of people in jail these tools could increase it That’s why the American Civil Liberties Union which is no fan of bail has come out against the new California law now, we? Did a whole video on the good and bad of risk assessment tool so if you want to learn more go ahead and check it out I know you want to And let’s not forget the purpose of having bail it’s a tool to make sure people show up to court and it turns out it’s pretty effective at doing that a Government report found that when people were released without bail about 26 percent didn’t show up to court But when they had to pay bail by going through a bondsman the no-show rate dropped to 18 percent and the fees that bail bondsmen Collect allowed them to employ bail recovery agents also known as bounty hunters to pursue apprehend and return Fugitives for their court appearances if they decide not to show up think Dog the Bounty Hunter just with less mullet Probably bail also has another huge benefit It’s essentially a free service it gets people to court at no additional expense to local Or state governments or the individual taxpayer if bill were eliminated that would all change for example DC has pretty much stopped using bail since 1992 and its place is the pretrial services agency a government program with 350 employees Monitoring track people waiting for their trial and it’s their job to get those people to show up to court now the program doesn’t come cheap last year it had a budget of 65 million dollars and that’s just DC Imagine if every state had a program like that that money would need to come from somewhere probably your taxes and mine All right those are the big arguments for and against the u.s Bail system as more states wrestle with the bail question the debate will only intensify What do you think is? America’s bail system fair let us know in the comments below oh yeah and don’t forget to check out that risk assessment video mentioned We, also have a dope video about universal basic income I think you’ll like and as always I’m your host Myles best

Comments (29)

  1. Let us know what you think about cash bail — is it a fair and effective practice, or do you think it needs reform? Let us know in the comments!

  2. Obviously criminals paying their way out of consequences is unfair and undermines the idea of fair justice.

    Not new, rich people 💰 for the right to abuse/use people without real consequences.

    Murder, rape, robbery is okay 👌🏽 if you can pay, that’s true worldwide. Just make sure no other rich person is inconvenienced.

  3. You DON'T get ALL your money back and that's the problem. They take a cut, a10-15% 'fee', depending on where you live. They do that even if your case is dropped or you are found not guilty. It's a money making system that's not likely to go away easily.

  4. You covered a politically charged issue and yet showed the pros and cons of both sides and you didn't tell me what to think. Unacceptable in 2019.

  5. I learn so much stuff with this channel. While watching I was thinking if you were going to talk about the pro and cons of risk assessment tools and then you mentioned the video. I was like “ohhh I learned that from you guys”

  6. It is absolutley unfair. Here in my state the detention budget went from 80 million in 1992 to 330 by 2012 (yes the numbers are adjusted for inflation). The thing is the state pop has only grown by 14 percent and nearly every crime and incarceration stat is actually lower (but just barely). Less people commit and are imprisoned for crimes. So why has the budget skyrocketed? Because the remand (those awaiting trial) pop has skyrocketed.
    Our local sheriffs department takes up 27 percent of our county budget. But it's okay our teachers haven't had raises in over a decade but we have a big new jail and 3 times as many deputies as we did 15 years ago, even though our pop hasn't grown.

  7. the bail system sould use a percent of the income to be fair

  8. How about a bail that is related to how much you earn? That way, poorer people will have to pay less and richer people will have to pay more.

  9. No! It isn't, but then again I've never known such a competitive system of attempting to prove someone who is guilty, innocent in court, how many must get off scott free just because they have the right amount of money lining their pockets 😐

  10. Thanks for the informative video!

  11. Depends on what you consider the definition of 'fair' is.
    In the cosmic justice sense, the bail amount would have to be proportional to your net worth or salary or some other measure of wealth. …or some intersectionalist bullshit about your combination of race, gender and sexual orientation, etc.
    In the actual justice sense, it's already fair because the rules behind the bail system don't care who you are when it decided whether to allow bail and for how much if so. Some people are rich enough to afford bail out of pocket, but they pay the same amount as everyone else (they follow the same rules). Justice must be blind in order to function properly.

  12. California- America's legislative petri dish

  13. This channel is so undervalued!!!

  14. The u.s. bail system is Criminal. Anyone who takes time to actually look into the details of the process will probably see that pretty quickly. The fact that the bail system is even the way that it is seems like a slap in the face to the Constitution. But then again we have the 13th Amendment …

  15. IMO the solution to this, and more, is to set fines (or bail in this case) as a percentage of what a given person makes in a year. If your broke, it's cheaper, if your rich it's more. Now, most ppl will scream unfair at this, but i think it's just a different angle. Rather then a flat finebail, you think of it more as how many days you go without disposable income. If say, the rate is set at 7 days of no disposable income for something like a speeding ticket, the punishment feels the same regardless of how poor or wealthy you are.

    I think the system should be changed, but not entirely overturned, bail is fairly good at it's purpose, it just needs tweaks to make it more sensible. Regardless though, i don't think there should be bail for being accused of stealing a backpack. Steal a car? sure, but something worth under 500 doesn't need bail.

    TLDR, base bail on a percentage of income, percentage being based on severity of crime, and get rid of bail entirely for small non-violent crimes.

  16. Was going to volunteer Ankle Monitors- proven tech, available to courts, unimpactful on the majority's day-to-day. Don't even need to be activate prior to court date… 😑 But apparently they also "violate people's civil rights", "carry unfair financial penalties", "Aren't Humane" and are "Another Kind of Jail".

    Progressive friends are exhausting.

  17. I think bail isn't the problem here. I think we should focus on improving the time it takes to get a trial, to me this seems like the bigger problem.

  18. The obvious solution is to scale bail similar to taxes. You pay based on your wealth. Someone barely making enough to get by would pay very little bail, compared to someone with a very high income.
    This would allow low-income people to make bail while forcing high income people to show up to court.

  19. The current bail and justice system violates most Americans constitutional rights per the 8th amendment.

    US Constituion 8th Amendment:
    "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

  20. What about bails proportional to the offender's income?

  21. It would be fair if we all got our speedy trial. You’re supposed to go to trial within two weeks. If you can’t pay bail and you’re stuck in jail then you should become a priority. No one should be behind bars without a conviction for more than two weeks, simple as that.
    If the courts can’t make it to your case within a timely period Then it should be dismissed for low risk cases.
    Or your time in jail should have a monetary value placed on it. If your bail is $3000 each day you spend in jail should quantify as, let’s say $500 spent towards your bail.
    Because if you’re behind bars you obviously can’t make money to pay your bail.

  22. All I gotta say is: THIS is a good-quality-content channel.
    I thank you for that.

  23. Liked before even watching the video! You guys deserve way more attention!

  24. Interesting just like past videos, but your speaking and jokes seemed a bit lame and colloquial…

  25. What happened to quick speedy trial?

  26. What if you were soon going to get out

  27. There shouldn’t even be a bail system

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