Lack Of Information In The Age Of Information: Exploring Available Information About The United States’ Bail System

In the early 1990’s the American Bail Coalition (ABC) began a campaign where it urged cities and counties to get rid of their pretrial programs. Money bail forces people to choose between remaining in custody for months or paying a large sum of money. Pretrial programs are an alternative to custody: individuals are released to the community under supervision while they await trial, allowing them to return to work. In its campaign, ABC wrote a letter to cities and counties where they referenced data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The letter suggested that money bail, rather than pretrial programs, is more effective at ensuring that individuals show up to their court dates. ABC ignores the fact that many states have recognized public safety to be the most important consideration when determining bail. As I began learning more about the California bail system, it became apparent that a lot (if not most) of the information available on this topic is also misleading and is often provided by the private bail industry. In my blog series, I will expose some of the data that is out there and shed light on the negative impacts of the private bail industry on public safety. I will look at the information released by the private bail industry and expose the ways in which they have interpreted data and released information.

I am a third year law student at Santa Clara University School of Law. I was recently awarded an Equal Justice Works fellowship with the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley. As an Equal Justice Works fellow, I will continue advocating on behalf of tenants upon graduation. Prior to law school, I spent three years working alongside low-income individuals in the areas of civic engagement. While in law school, I have represented low-income tenants in all aspects of landlord tenant law and wrote many articles about the ways in which prohibition of marijuana impacts low-income tenants. I am committed to advocating on behalf of those who cannot advocate for themselves. I hope my research will positively influence bail reform because it is an area that directly and negatively impacts some of the most marginalized individuals in my community.