What is bail?

Bail is a contract agreement between the court and the accused to come back for their trial. This agreement can include a phone call reminder from the court or people being released on their own accord, but most cities, counties, states and the federal government currently require money bail.



  • As of 2016, there are 646,000 people locked up in more than 3,000 local jails throughout the US.



  • As many as 9 in 10 of those people are stuck in jail because they can’t afford to post bail. 


  • Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans are twice as likely to be stuck in jail because they cannot afford money bail. 


  • A Human Rights Watch report done in New York found that nearly 90% of defendants with a bail of $1,000 or less could not pay




  • The bail industry is backed by large insurance companies that underwrite over $14 million in bonds a year. The industry as a whole makes over $1 billion annually.




 For More Information on money bail and pretrial justice, visit http://www.pretrial.org/infostop/research-community/

 To view all videos on bail, please click here.