New York City has become a laboratory in which both officials and nonprofits are testing solutions to the problem of cash bail.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is expanding a Bail Expediting Program to contact relatives of people whose bail is less than $5,000 and guide them through the payment process.Ashley Southall, “To Shrink Jail Population, a Bail Program is Expanding,” New York Times, August 29, 2017. New York City is also home to the Liberty Fund, a charitable fund to help New Yorkers meet bail—one of several such funds in the city.The Liberty Fund, “About,”; and Teresa Mathew, “Why New York City Created Its Own Fund,” (2017). Vera also worked with the city to encourage and measure the use of partially secured and unsecured bonds, alternative forms of bail that are easier for people to afford.Insha Rahman, Against the Odds: Experimenting with Alternative Forms of Bail in New York City’s Criminal Courts (New York: Vera Institute of Justice, 2017). Building on that successful effort, in 2018 Vera is partnering with New York’s courts to urge judges to more frequently consider people’s ability to pay and to use alternative forms of bail.Cindy Redcross, Melanie Skemer, Dannia Guzman, Insha Rahman, and Jessi Lachance, New York City’s Pretrial Supervised Release Program: An Alternative to Bail (New York: Vera Institute of Justice and MDRC, 2017).