Ending Mass IncarcerationReducing the Use of Jails

Bail and Pretrial

Nationwide, 62 percent of people in jail are not serving time, they’re waiting for justice to be served in cases that typically involve nonviolent charges. In one county jail over the course of a week, fully a third of people admitted were charged with traffic violations. America spends an estimated $22.2 billion annually to detain people in jails. 

What if judges set bail amounts people could afford, or released them with no up-front payment? Bail shouldn’t function as punishment or coerce people to plead guilty, but these and other injustices are baked into the process. We’re working in New York City and nationally to address them once and for all.

Related Work

Series: Eliminating Money Injustice in New Orleans

Moving to Action on Ending Money Injustice

A conversation with activist and co-host of Pod Save the People Brittany Packnett

6. You’re emceeing a live music and panel discussion event in New Orleans on July 3—co-hosted by Vera, Global Citizen, and RFK Human Rights. Tell me what inspired you to get involved and what you’re looking forward to? I’m inspired by the work that Vera does to shine a light on the continued injustices in our system, and to make sure that these sto...

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  • Vera Institute  of Justice
    Vera Institute of Justice
July 03, 2019
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Series: Eliminating Money Injustice in New Orleans

How New Orleans Communities Rise Up Against Money Injustice

A conversation with New Orleans community organizer Gilda Lewis

5. How do you think New Orleans would change if Vera’s reforms were implemented? If they eliminated bail and conviction fees, it’s less stress. My community will be healthier, it’ll be safer, and people will have more rational decision-making. When you ask somebody for something that they don’t have... well, here we go again… we’re raising money. I...

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  • Vera Institute  of Justice
    Vera Institute of Justice
June 28, 2019
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Series: Eliminating Money Injustice in New Orleans

Confronting the True Harms of Money Injustice

A conversation with New Orleans community activist Roy Brumfield

5. How do you feel about this moment and the potential for reform? I’m angry, honestly. When I was in jail and I couldn’t pay my bond, I had to make a choice: what’s important right now? And I know that’s not unique about me. I’m not the only person who made that decision based upon the circumstances.

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  • Vera Institute  of Justice
    Vera Institute of Justice
June 21, 2019
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Series: Eliminating Money Injustice in New Orleans

New Orleans's Road Map to Eliminate Money Injustice

A conversation with Paid in Full co-author Alison Shih

7. We can’t wait! Any closing words? This work is pretty amazing, because not only does it have the potential to completely change the community that I live in right now, but as the rest of the nation is really gearing up and moving in this direction, it has the potential to influence other cities and states. Historically the issue of money injust...

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  • Vera Institute  of Justice
    Vera Institute of Justice
June 13, 2019
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