Skip to content
CityLab
Justice

How New Jersey Is Leading the Post-Bail Revolution

A new report shows how far the rest of the U.S. has to go to catch up on bail reform.
relates to How New Jersey Is Leading the Post-Bail Revolution
Mel Evans/AP

On Monday, October 31, former Trump aide Paul Manafort was charged with felony crimes of, among other things in his 12-count indictment, money laundering and conspiring against the U.S. A judge imposed a $10 million bond on Manafort, and $5 million for his alleged co-conspirator Richard Gates, to ensure that they would return for a court trial. Special counsel Robert Mueller told the judge that both were “serious” flight risks given their wealth and the high-level crimes they’re allegedly involved in. But Manafort and Gates both walked out of court without having to pay a penny and were back home the same day, though on house arrest. Since they haven’t been found guilty of any crimes yet, perhaps this is fair. This is, after all, how the criminal justice system is supposed to work: innocent until proven guilty.

Except this is not the normal way the system works for people who are not wealthy or white like Manafort and Gates. In 2015, while most in New York City made bail within a week, there were still thousands who toiled in jail for weeks because no bond was posted—many who remained for months and years.