Why fixing the US bail system is tricky

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  • Published on:  Wednesday, January 2, 2019
  • Cash bail is great…if you can pay for it.Become a member of the Vox Video Lab! https://www.vox.com/joinSubscribe to our channel! http://goo.gl/0bsAjOLawmakers, activists, and reformers want to end cash bail, the practice of requiring a defendant to pay money to be released from jail before trial. Mounting evidence has shown that cash bail unfairly affects low-income minorities who don’t have the money to pay for release before their trial. As a result, defendants languish in jail while waiting for court dates. While in jail, many of them lose their jobs, housing, and parental rights, all of which can weaken their community network, erode domestic relationships, and cost the government money to keep them in jail. Defenders of cash bail claim it is an effective mechanism for keeping violent criminals in jail. Despite their efforts to protect the status quo, several states have pursued bail reform. These states model their new systems on a pretrial risk assessment system. Risk assessments use algorithms to analyze data about a defendant and make recommendations for their pretrial release. The District of Columbia has used risk assessments since the early 1990s with success. But many reform activists are concerned that when cash bail is replaced with risk assessments, courts are using another unjust — and potentially more biased — pretrial release mechanism. Note: The headline for this video has been updated since publishing.Previous headline: The case against cash bailVox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com.Watch our full video catalog: http://goo.gl/IZONyEFollow Vox on Facebook: http://goo.gl/U2g06oOr Twitter: http://goo.gl/XFrZ5H
  • Source: https://youtu.be/5mhwDSHKEyM


  • Enthused Norseman

    Enthused Norseman

     7 months ago +1204

    The new Minecraft Story Mode looks wild.

  • Justin Y.

    Justin Y.

     7 months ago +2731

    Cash bail is fine as long as you have a small loan of a million dollars

  • Colombian Crepe

    Colombian Crepe

     7 months ago +1625

    The U.S.' judicial system is just messed up.

  • Lawrence Tider

    Lawrence Tider

     7 months ago +1618

    The US: The only place where they PRIVATIZE PRISONS.

  • Mr. Friendship

    Mr. Friendship

     7 months ago +1085

    *Puts the word "just" inside a briefcase*
    Me: Just in case.

  • thomasm1964


     7 months ago +411

    In the UK, "cash bail" is an unknown concept. Here, the presumption is that you will be released on conditional bail ("don't do this; don't do that") unless there is good reason to think you will abscond or you are being charged with something really serious like murder. In that case, you will be remanded in custody.
    The police have to oppose bail and give their reasons in open Court.

  • Someone 234

    Someone 234

     7 months ago +387

    More square people... Yay!

  • Prelmable


     7 months ago +213

    It's so bizarre to hear that people get before a judge for an open container. In every other country this is a little fine and that's it. Well, IF "open container" would be against the law, which in most countries is not.

  • Faith Emmanuel

    Faith Emmanuel

     7 months ago +459

    they should just do percentage of income or savings so it impacts everyone the same, I mean if they're going to get the money back anyways

  • Rea Kariz

    Rea Kariz

     7 months ago +508

    It is a vicious cycle.

  • brian whittle

    brian whittle

     7 months ago +397

    People in the USA go to jail for drinking a beer in public, what a country.

  • Atlantic Film

    Atlantic Film

     7 months ago +398

    why isn't the bail proportional to income/wealth?

  • Peter Frencken

    Peter Frencken

     7 months ago +128

    The whole fine system needs reform. The only people that are punished are the poor people who can't afford it. A 200$ fine for example is nothing to someone earning over 100k a year however to someone who is already struggling, the same fine for the same offense could tip someone into financial hardship, which can then cascade into all sorts of personal and social issues.

  • Ernest Choy

    Ernest Choy

     7 months ago +69

    USA large jail population is so bad, it's criminal!
    On a serious note, the US needs to help people break the cycle of crime, instead of perpetuating it.

  • Cool123 Guy

    Cool123 Guy

     7 months ago +128


  • Daenerys was just Remodeling

    Daenerys was just Remodeling

     7 months ago +121

    America will put a price on anything for a profit ( & in this case to also enslave people)

  • E H . . .

    E H . . .

     7 months ago +2

    If the US owns it, it ain’t cheap.

  • Rajas A

    Rajas A

     7 months ago +2

    DC wasn't able to vote till 1968 and they fixed the bail system! If DC can do it you can do it!

  • Adam C.

    Adam C.

     7 months ago +3

    Do one on why watches like Patek Phillipe or Rolex are so expensive

  • shingshongshamalama


     7 months ago +1

    "Yes but a small percentage of releases pre-trial didn't come back!"
    Something about "more important to protect the innocent than persecute the guilty".