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The Bail Lab


To keep New York safe and fair,
we need to fix our broken bail system.
And we want your help. 

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The Bail Lab


To keep New York safe and fair,
we need to fix our broken bail system.
And we want your help. 

Unfairness in New York City's bail system affects us all.

Use the Bail Lab to help us identify problems. Help us test solutions. And then help us make the changes we need. 

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Mapping the Failures of Money Bail


Money bail is a problem. It can lead to unnecessary jail time if low-risk people cannot afford to pay bail. And it can undermine public safety if high-risk people are able to post bail. To solve these problems, the first step is determining what we know and what we need to know.

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Mapping the Failures of Money Bail


Money bail is a problem. It can lead to unnecessary jail time if low-risk people cannot afford to pay bail. And it can undermine public safety if high-risk people are able to post bail. To solve these problems, the first step is determining what we know and what we need to know.

Some parts of New York City's pre-trial system are working well. As just one example, we are a national leader in the percentage of defendants - 68% - who wait for trial at home, working and with their families.

But some parts are broken.

Even one night in jail because of poverty is unacceptable, and yet some New Yorkers are detained simply because they cannot afford small bail amounts. Some spend time on Rikers Island because their family could not get to the courthouse quickly enough to pay bail. And just as troubling, some defendants who could be dangerous are able to pay bail and return to the street. 

Click through for more on what is working and what needs to be fixed. 

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Testing Solutions


Here's our hypothesis. Bail systems around the country are sometimes driven by guesswork instead of science. Courts want the sharp, sophisticated tools they need to make accurate decisions about pre-trial detention. 

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Testing Solutions


Here's our hypothesis. Bail systems around the country are sometimes driven by guesswork instead of science. Courts want the sharp, sophisticated tools they need to make accurate decisions about pre-trial detention. 

New York City's bail system - like many across the country - needs to be updated for the 21st century. 

The problem is large gaps in national knowledge, leaving some key questions unanswered. What is the likelihood that a defendant will return to court? What stops someone from re-offending if released? That his (most are male) family put up money? Something else? And if bail is set, what actually motivates him to return to court?

Through a series of novel research projects, we are working to answer some key questions and to build tools that will improve our decisions about release and detention. Click the buttons below for more. 

What else should we be studying? Tell us here.

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'Crowdsourcing' Bail Reform


When the bail system is unfair, it affects all New Yorkers. Help us identify problems. Help us test solutions. And then help us make the changes we need. 

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'Crowdsourcing' Bail Reform


When the bail system is unfair, it affects all New Yorkers. Help us identify problems. Help us test solutions. And then help us make the changes we need. 

The Bail Lab is scouting the best ideas and improve how we ensure people return to court and do not pose a danger to others. We are inviting everyone – from tech start-ups to people with a family member behind bars – to ‘crowdsource’ bail reform.

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Implementing What Works


As we identify solutions that work, we will implement them together with our partners. And as the results of our research come in, we will share them with you. Check back here regularly for updates. 

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Implementing What Works


As we identify solutions that work, we will implement them together with our partners. And as the results of our research come in, we will share them with you. Check back here regularly for updates.