Bites Media

2020 Presidential Election

2020 Criminal Justice: Bail Reform


  • Bail is "the temporary release of a prisoner in exchange for security given for the prisoner’s appearance at a later hearing." [Merriam-Webster]
  • Bail bonds are an agreement with the court and the defendant to ensure the defendant returns for their court date. [The New York Times]

  • The agreement is based upon a fundamental constitutional right, that we are innocent until proven guilty. [American Civil Liberties Union]

  • Bail bonds are not always cash related. If money is involved, it is referred to as a "money bail" or "cash bail" pre-trial system.  [The Charles Koch Institute]

Nationwide average of cash bail is $10,000. [Vox]

  • The money is returned to the defendant upon completion of the trial. No show? No money back.

  • There is a continued increase in the incarcerated population in America. [Vox]

  • One reason? Lower-income individuals remain in jail because they cannot afford to "make bail." [The New York Times]

  • This disproportionally affects minority communities, resulting in higher rates of minority Americans imprisoned. [USA Today]

  • 2016: 70% of people held in jail were pre-trial defendants or those who could not make cash bail. [Prison Policy Initiative


President Trump supports cash bail.


What he's said:

Nov. 2019: President Trump expressed criticism via Twitter over New York's law to end cash bail. 

  • "So sad to see what is happening in New York where Governor Cuomo & Mayer DeBlasio are letting out 900 Criminals, some hardened & bad, onto the sidewalks of our rapidly declining, because of them, city. The Radical Left Dems are killing our cities." [Donald Trump, Twitter]

What he's done:

While in office, President Trump has neither supported nor opposed any legislation that reforms or enhances the cash bail system. 


Former Vice President Biden is against cash bail. 



What he's said:

"Cash bail is the modern-day debtors’ prison. The cash bail system incarcerates people who are presumed innocent. And, it disproportionately harms low-income individuals." [Joe Biden Campaign]


Biden promises to end cash bail and reform the system. [Reuters]


Biden promises to use the grantmaking power of the federal government to incentivize the end of policies that "jail people for being too poor to pay fines and fees". [Joe Biden Campaign]



What he's done:

The Department of Justice under the Obama-Biden administration filed a brief in support of a man jailed for a week for being unable to pay $160 cash bond. [The Los Angeles Times]

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