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Deep Dive with Laura Arnold

Podcast: The Debate Over Money Bail Reform

Right now in the United States, almost 500,000 people are being held behind bars prior to trial — most because they cannot meet the financial demands of a money bail system. Now, the fundamental fairness of that system is being questioned and prompting conversations about the balance between public safety and personal freedom.

Pretrial risk assessing

Image: Stephanie Pope-Earley sorts through defendant files scored with risk-assessment software for municipal court Judge Jimmy Jackson Jr. on the first day of the software’s use in Cleveland in August 2017. (Dake Kang/The Associated Press)

Right now in the United States, there are almost 500,000 people being held behind bars who have yet to receive their day in court. In the majority of those cases, the defendant is being held simply because they cannot meet the financial demands imposed by a money bail system. In short, they do not have enough money to buy their freedom. Now, the fundamental fairness of that system is being questioned. But reform is also giving rise to a new question: What should a new system look like?

Laura Arnold recently spoke with Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo and Alec Karakatsanis, Founder and Executive Director of Civil Rights Corps, about the debate over money bail reform and the balance between public safety and personal freedom.

How to listen

Listen to the podcast in the player above or on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app.

About the host

Laura Arnold is the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of Arnold Ventures, founded in 2010, and an attorney and former oil company executive. Read more about her here.