ATP Calculator

The app that calculates a person’s ability to pay bail.

Bail Calc Home Dan

In the United States, almost half a million people are in jail awaiting trial on any given day. Most are there because they can’t afford bail—the price of their freedom. Until we end the use of money bail and unnecessary pretrial detention, what can be done to ease the harm they cause?

The courts should always consider release on recognizance, with a simple court reminder, or release under non-monetary conditions. Research and experience show that money bail is unnecessary to incentivize people to return to court. But, in cases where bail is set, defense attorneys, family members, pretrial services officers, and judges can use the Vera Institute of Justice’s ATP Calculator—“ability to pay calculator”—to determine the amount of bail someone can afford to pay without causing hardship or forgoing necessities such as rent, food, transportation, and childcare.

Here’s how it works:

Based on the answers to 30 short questions about a person’s wages, assets, and financial obligations, the ATP Calculator provides a specific dollar amount and the types of bail a person can afford—cash, a partially secured/deposit bond, an unsecured bond, or a credit card bail.

Our hope is that specific, individualized information about a person’s ability to pay will make it easier to afford bail, avoid turning to profit-making bail bond companies, and improve the odds that wealth is not the sole barrier to someone’s freedom.

Here's how to use the ATP Calculator:

First, input your earnings.

Bail Calc Earn Dan
Bail Calc Assets Dan

Second, enter the cash and assets you have immediate access to.

Next enter your monthly expenses...

Bail Calc Expenses Dan

…and let ATP Calc assess the amount and types of bail.

Bail Calc Calculation Dan

Get the app

You can download the ATP Calculator for free on the App Store or on Google Play. Use it during bail hearings to provide decision makers such as magistrates, judges, and bond commissioners with specific, individualized information about a person’s ability to pay. You can also find a web-based version of the app at atpcalc.vera.org.

For more information about the Vera Institute of Justice and our work on bail, please visit vera.org/projects/bail-assessment-pilot. The ATP Calculator was developed by Unloop, an organization that seeks to provide access to software development education for people who are currently or formerly incarcerated, while creating pathways to living wage jobs. For more information about Unloop, please visit their website