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Economy

New York City Announces New Initiatives to Ease Bail Burdens

The city will place more ATM machines in courthouses, and explore allowing bail payment with debit or credit cards.
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REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Penalties for individuals unable to fund bail when arraigned in court go far beyond sitting in jail until trial. People can lose their jobs when they miss work because they’re detained; their sons and daughters can get left behind at school or daycare. Being unable to make bail can also mean death, which is what happened in the tragic cases of Kalief Browder and Jeffrey Pendleton, two young, African-American men. Each was held in, and died in, jail because they were unable to post bail.

A large part of the overall problem is that the bail system still operates almost exclusively in cash in an era where many financial transactions are made through credit or debit cards or apps.