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Collection

Bail Reform

Background

Stories pertaining to implement bail reform, either through supervised release programs, non-cash alternatives, or other means. On any given day, an estimated half million people are detained across the U.S. because of an inability to post bail. The costs of pre-trial detention are enormous, both in terms of taxpayer money and the impact it has on the lives of detainees, their families and their neighborhoods. This is a major cause of prison over-crowding, particularly in Hawaiʻi which has high rates of houselessness and, therefore, sees high rates of detention and incarceration of houseless people who cannot afford bail.

In New York City, bail is set for approximately 55,000 defendants each year, over half of whom are charged with low-level offenses such as misdemeanors and violations. Although the bail amount is no higher than $1,000 in the vast majority of non-felony cases, most defendants are unable to post that amount and are thereby subject to pre-trial detention – a reality that has been decried by advocacy groups, newspapers, and public officials across the political spectrum.

Discussion

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