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Bail (Prisoner's Dilemma)
News: Bail (Prisoner's Dilemma)

Bail Fund Aims to Free Poor Defendants

After a state law cleared a legal obstacle, Brooklyn public defenders are forming a fund to pay low-level bails that keep a surprising number of defendants behind bars before trial—with devastating effects on work, families and their criminal cases.

Chapter 1: The Punishing Price of NYC's Bail System

Many people in New York City's jails today are behind bars only because they cannot afford the very low bail set in their minor criminal cases. This raises concerns about cost and justice.

Chapter 2: Process and Punishment in Arraignment Courts

Crucial decisions in the city's justice system are made under difficult circumstances—at overcrowded arraignment courts where judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers operate with little information and scarce time.

Chapter 3: Anatomy of The Bail Decision

Who goes free and who gets bail? Myriad factors affect this most crucial decision in the criminal justice process.

Chapter 4: Judgment Calls—Judges and Bail

For the people behind the bench in New York City courtrooms, the bail decision comes loaded with technical nuance and practical consequences.

Chapter 5: No Escape From The Politics Of Bail

Bail does serve a purpose: preventing defendants from skipping court. But in legislatures and courthouses, there's political pressure to also use it to punish.

Chapter 6: Bail, Truth and Consequences

The decision to impose financial bail can have an impact on the city's jail costs, the ability of the court system to establish truth and an individual's work, family, housing and life.

Chapter 7: Room for Reform? Bail and its Alternatives

Other cities have employed new methods of pre-trial monitoring to avoid setting financial bail. Given the scale of the city's criminal justice system, would such an approach deliver both public safety and individual justice in New York?

Stung By Sam: .44-Caliber Bail Reform

The city's bail system wasn't the same after one defendant named David Berkowitz came through a Brooklyn courthouse.

Lengthy Trial: A Brief History of Bail

From the Bible to the Tupac Shakur, history and pop culture are littered with references to the curious process of paying for freedom.

Ripped from Arraignments: Bail ‘Law & Order' Style

The long-running cops-and-courtrooms drama often brings viewers into the bail hearing.

Clang for a Buck: The Curious Case of Dollar Bails

It's rare, but it happens: A person gets arrested on multiple charges, has $1 bail set on one, clears the other counts up, but remains in jail for lack of a solitary greenback.

Overdue Finds: The NYPD's Warrants Section

There are somewhere between 160,000 and 1.5 million open warrants in the five boroughs. They represent the caseload of the NYPD's Warrants Section.

The Business of Bail: The City's Bail Agents Sing the Blues

When a judge opts not to release a defendant and sets bail that's higher than he can pay in cash, a commercial bail bond agent decides, in effect, whether the guy stays in or goes free.

"Prisoner's Dilemma" looks at New York City's bail system and investigates why city jails are populated with pre-trial detainees who mostly can't afford bail.

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New York's Top Judge Echoes Our 2007 Bail Investigation - Jarrett Murphy

Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman called for reforms of the bail system, including limiting the use of financial bail to detain defendants in non-violent cases.



2014 Impact Awards Gala

Monday, October 20, 2014
6:00p - 10:00p

Step-Up New York Cocktail Reception

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
:p - 9:00p

Story by Story

Thursday, October 23, 2014
:p - 9:00p



Space Available: Jail Capacity in New York City

From City Limits' 2007 investigation of the bail system: After rising for years, the usage of jail space in the city has dropped.

Wanted, Late and Alive: Outstanding Warrants in New York City

From City Limits' 2007 investigation of the bail system: Outstanding warrants reflect, in part, cases where people skipped court, with or without bail.