VICE News on NYC’s Bail Fund


However, the fund, as it stands, does not offer assistance to those with a violent criminal record. That technicality makes little to no sense, Brian Sonenstein, an activist and writer for Prison Protest, argues, because bail is often set only for those with past criminal offenses. In other words: low-level offenders with no criminal records rarely have to pay bail, so what difference will this actually make?

“New York judges can’t use risk of flight or harm to others in considering bail, so the vague reassurance that the city will determine who deserves it and who doesn’t just strikes me as unjustified and cruel,” Sonenstein told me. “If the situation is so bad that the City Council is proposing taxpayers bail people out of its jails, I think it’s time for the state to consider revising or abolishing the bail system entirely.”

“It’s a sad state of affairs that city lawmakers would have to basically institutionalize the work of charitable organizations in order to confront the state’s bail crisis,” he added.

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