University of Pretrial Library

The Public Cost of Private Bail: A Proposal to Ban Bail Bonds in NYC - Office of the NYC Comptroller 2018 

03-07-2018 11:44

In many respects, New York City’s pretrial justice system treats criminal defendants more fairly than other large cities and the nation as a whole, with relatively high rates of pretrial release and lower bail amounts. Yet, for the tens of thousands of people who are subject to bail conditions every year, the City must make significant strides to ensure no one is unnecessarily detained and punished simply because they are too poor or because the process of posting bail is too onerous and predatory. With that long-term goal in mind, in order to build a pretrial justice system that relies less on money and more on fairer, faster, more humane, and less costly forms of release, this report recommends that the use of commercial bail bonds in New York City be immediately eliminated. Across the country, there is a growing movement to reform bail laws and move to a fairer, more just, and less expensive criminal justice system. New York City’s existing reform efforts have moved the City in the right direction, but more sweeping actions like the abolition of commercial bail bonds are needed.

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