NewsClips Database



The purpose of this collection is to identify and compile clips that tell stories of the money bail system, the for-profit bail bonding industry and people impacted by both. It is a living archive of stories from cities, counties, and states across the country that reveal where both the injustices of the money bail system and the steps to change that system are happening.

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Database Instructions

The NewsClips Database is a searchable collection of recent news stories from across the United States that show the human impact of the money bail system. By providing access to specific reported cases, it is a resource for anyone working to see pretrial justice improved.

The entry for each story includes basic information—such as the date of the article, outlet, and headline—and is tagged with demographic information. These tags can be used to identify clips that will be useful for both your work and public communications. Before citing any anecdote surfaced by this database be sure to read the entire news article to ensure the facts of the story are relevant to your work.

Please Note: This collection is not an authoritative or scientific representation of the size or scope of crimes by people out on money bond, the individual level failures of the money bail system, or instances of injustices or personal loss directly caused by that system.

If you have any questions or want to address any findings within the database, please send them to NewsClips@pretrial.org.


Google Sheet Instructions

The database is separated into 4 categories for separate types of stories collected. These are explained further below, under “Tag and category descriptions.” Each of these categories is sorted into a different tab, marked on the bottom of the page.

The Newsclip Database can be filtered by the tags in each column. More information about how to use a temporary filter view to search the database is below:

First, create a temporary filter view. This will allow you to sort the database by specific information within each column, and make it easier and more effective to identify the clips that can be useful to you.

Create filter view:
  • Above the spreadsheet, look for the Filter icon, which is shaped like a funnel. It can be found to the left of the blue bar that says “View Only.”
  • Click the Filter icon, and then click “Create Temporary New Filter View.”
Using filters:
  • On the right side of each cell at the top of each column is a green icon with three horizontal lines. If you click this, it will open a small menu with different options of tags to filter for.
  • When you open that, there will be a list full of names with check marks to the left of each tag. All of the tags with a check mark are what is visible on the sheet. For instance, if you click the icon for the “State” column you will see “Alabama, Alaska, Arizona….”
  • If you want to filter for just one set of tags, for instance all of the stories about Alabama, then click “Clear,” then type “Alabama” into the search bar of the filter menu, and select the box next to “Alabama” in the list of tags below. A check mark will appear. Press the blue “OK” button and when you go back to the list you will only see entries from Alabama.
  • If you want to return to the database as is, re-open the filter menu with the icon and hit “Select All.”
Additional Notes:
  • Each column can be filtered to display results that include several tags at once. For instance, to display entries for Alabama and Ohio, you would simply select both “Alabama” and “Ohio” in the filter menu and then press the blue “OK” button. The results that will be displayed will include only entries from Alabama and Ohio.
  • More than one filter can be applied at once. For instance, when you have filtered to display only entries with “Alabama” in the state column, you can then scroll further to filter for specific age groups, crime charges, or more.

Tag and category descriptions

Below is a list of the tags used, and their definitions. In many collected articles, information on demographics or background for individual parties was incomplete. The collection criteria were set to avoid drawing inferences and limit tags to what was communicated in each clip:
Stories of People Who Have Committed Crimes While Out on Bond:
  • Impacted Person
    • Yes
      • Someone who has been negatively impacted by the actions of someone who was released on bail or bond.
      • Victim demographic columns refer to the demographics of Impacted People.
    • No
      • In stories without Impacted People, Victim demographic columns are marked “Not Identified.”
  • Age:
    • Juvenile: 0-17
    • Young adult: 18-30
    • Adult: 31-64
    • Elderly: 65+
    • Not Available
    • Not Identified
  • Race/ethnicity:
    • White
    • Black
    • Latino
    • AAPI: Asian American or Pacific Islander
    • Native American
    • Mixed Race or other
    • Not Available
    • Not Identified
  • Gender :
    • Male
    • Female
    • GNC/Trans: Gender nonconforming or transgender
    • Not Available
    • Not Identified
  • Law Enforcement, First Responder, or Veteran Victim:
    • Law Enforcement
    • First Responder Victim
    • Veteran
  • Family Status of Victim:
    • Parent victim
    • Grandparent victim
    • Child victim
  • Mental Health/Substance Abuse
    • Mental Health Issues
    • Substance Abuse Issues
  • Top crime charge tags:
    • Drug infraction
    • Misdemeanor
    • Nonviolent felony
    • Violent felony
    • Murder
    • Firearm infraction
Collateral Consequences:
  • Tags:
    • Long pretrial detention: 3 Days or more
    • Lost employment: Lost employment due to inability to afford money bail.
    • Lost housing: Lost housing due to inability to afford money bail.
    • Lost medical care: Lost medical due to inability to afford money bail.
    • Lost child custody: Lost custody of a child due to inability to afford money bail.
    • Education interrupted: Missed schooling or a clear educational opportunity due to inability to afford money bail.
    • Health issue while in jail pretrial: Experienced a medical issue or negative health outcome while in jail due to inability to afford money bail.
    • Held in jail pretrial but charges later dismissed: Held in pretrial detention due to money bail, but charges later dismissed.
    • Continued financial obligation after case disposition: On a payment plan to a bondsman or bonding company.
    • Other
    • Not Available
System Reform
  • Positive/Negative: On whole, how did the news article portray system improvements?
    • Positive
    • Negative
    • Presents Both Sides
  • Individual Who Succeeded Under Reformed System: Indicates individuals who benefitted from policies within a jurisdiction that has implemented pretrial reforms, and avoided negative outcomes they likely would have encountered under money bail.
    • Yes
    • No
  • Pretrial assessment tags: The specific pretrial assessment tool reference
    • Risk assessment - PSA
    • Risk assessment - VPRAI
    • Risk assessment - COMPAS
    • Risk assessment - ORAS
    • Risk assessment -‘Homegrown’: Pretrial assessment tool developed by an individual jurisdiction
    • Risk assessment – other
    • Not Available
  • Experts quoted/mentioned – this section tags instances where an individual spoke on the record as well as instances where a report, or previous work by an entity in a jurisdiction, is cited in the story.
    • Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI)
    • Civil Rights Corps
    • JustLeadershipUSA
    • Laura and John Arnold Foundation
    • Color Of Change
    • ACLU
    • Vera Institute of Justice
    • Prosecutor
    • Police/sheriff official
    • Judge
    • Elected official
    • Community advocate
    • Bail fund
    • Academic
  • Stories About Bondsmen Activity
    • Violent action related to job
    • Charged with a crime stemming from bail business: Fraud or other non-violent, illegal behavior committed by bondsmen within the scope of their business.
    • Extortion of clients
    • Bondsman/bail agent mistake: Instances of reckless or otherwise erroneous behavior by bondsmen in the course of conducting their business.
    • Other


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