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

Against the Odds

Experimenting with Alternative Forms of Bail in New York City’s Criminal Courts

Statistics show that money bail is unaffordable and out of reach for many New Yorkers. On any given day, 7,000 people are detained pretrial at Rikers Island and other New York City jails because they cannot make bail. While judges in New York can choose up to nine different forms of bail at arraignment—including “alternative” forms that require lit...

Publication
  • Insha Rahman
September 15, 2017
Publication

New York City's Pretrial Supervised Release Program

An Alternative to Bail

Policymakers and practitioners are increasingly raising concerns about the large number of people being held in jails pretrial across the US. The supervised release program (SR) in NYC is an example of a new approach to handling cases pretrial. SR gives judges the option to release some defendants who would otherwise be detained due to their inabil...

Publication
  • Cindy Redcross , Melanie Skemer, Dannia Guzman, Insha Rahman, Jessi LaChance
April 10, 2017
Publication