Tabarrok on Bail

I spoke recently at Brookings on the movement to eliminate cash bail. I think we hold too many people pre-trial and the use of judicial aids such as algorithms could safely increase the number of people released prior to trial as well as reduce the variance and disparity of treatment. Nevertheless, I think eliminating cash bail is a poorly thought out idea that may very well backfire. The proponents of eliminating cash bail also present a misleading picture of who is held on bail, the focus of my remarks at Brookings.

I was the only one at the event to oppose eliminating cash bail and I think the audience was a bit shell-shocked. Certainly, not everyone on the panel agreed with my comments. The American Bail Coalition posted the clip from CSPAN but otherwise had nothing to do with my remarks which begin around 35 seconds in.


innocent until proven guilty

... how should innocent people be treated by the government?

what was the original purpose of "Bail" in Anglo-American law?

The realistic alternate to bail is leaving more people locked up in jail awaiting trial.

Eliminate bail and replace it with what??? Trust that someone who committed crimes will freely return to face trial? Why not test it; Pick a state with a average population and crime rate and try it there for a year or two and then make a decision based on the results.

Replace it with a facial-recognition and gait-recognition surveillance society with real-time monitoring by AI, supplemented by snitching citizens monitoring the augmented-reality labels floating over each other's heads.

The "ambulatory incarcerated" will walk around like the lepers of old, ringing a virtual bell.

I suggest running the experiment on a smaller scale. This: Release the accused of Chicago for 6 months, after they pinky-swear to return for their trials.

BUT, the state should assume responsibility for the negative results. They should suspend their immunity from legal action and allow anyone harmed by these criminals they release to sue them in court. Seems fair to me.

From a Rockefeller Foundation supported study:

"The United States is one of only two countries in the world that permits private, for-profit bail operations… and where there’s profit, there’s political spending.

In recent years, the bail bond industry, a decentralized ecosystem of companies and agents increasingly underwritten by major multinational insurance companies, has been flexing its muscle to oppose reform attempts; for example, Maryland recently tried to ban cash bail but ultimately settled for a reduction after well-funded pushback from the industry.

In this report, funded by the Rockefeller Family Fund, the National Institute on Money in Politics looks at how the sprawling bail bond industry has sought to influence state-level politics from 2009 through 2017.1

Findings include:

The industry spent $6.4 million lobbying state lawmakers, and an additional $1.8 million in direct contributions to state campaigns.
California and Florida, perennial top targets for industries involved in criminal justice, accounted for 36 percent of all dollars contributed by the bail bond industry and 47 percent of all its lobbying spending.
The trade group American Bail Coalition was the top spender in the industry, shelling out more than $1.5 million since 2009, mostly on lobbying.
The bail bond industry gave more state-level contributions in 2017 than it had in any other odd-year election.
Figure 1: Bail Bond Industry Political Spending, By Type, 2009-2017"

Here is the link:

Showing spending is interesting, but what have you done to actually refute or contradict the arguments made by Alex?

Adding information. As for refutation, I think logic supplies the answer:

Why should the size of my assets determine my freedom?

There are electronic bands that can track people today that didn't exist in 1916. People have cell phones that are tracking devices.

Remember: if it is a good risk for a bail bondsman, it probably is a good risk for alternative technologies that are less costly.

And, also remember, some people who are flight risks, or at risk of continuing offense, don't get bail. Ask Manafort.

Some more context:

> There are electronic bands that can track people today that didn't exist in 1916.

Electronic Monitoring bands can easily be removed (as in, you just cut them off) and need regular charging, so they require compliance with charging routines to be effective. Tracking someone by their phone is something police already do - and they run into problems when someone ditches their phone.

> Remember: if it is a good risk for a bail bondsman, it probably is a good risk for alternative technologies that are less costly.

For people deemed to be good candidates for Electronic Monitoring, Bail Bondsmen already use them (link to contract here: and to a vendor here: )

Nate, If bondsmen use them, you are undercutting your argument.

From a DOJ funded study:

"A large NIJ-funded study of Florida offenders placed on electronic monitoring found that moni- toring significantly reduces the likelihood of failure under community supervision. The decline in the risk of failure is about 31 percent compared with offenders placed on other forms of community supervision.
Researchers from Florida State University’s Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research compared the experiences of more than 5,000 medium- and high-risk offenders who were moni- tored electronically to more than 266,000 offend- ers not placed on monitoring over a six-year period. The researchers worked with the Florida Department of Corrections to secure approval, obtain administrative data, and gain help in con- tacting local probation offices for interviews. The researchers interviewed offenders, probation offi- cers, supervisors and administrators to uncover insights into the electronic monitoring process." .....Electronic monitoring may increase over time as states seek less expensive
alternatives to imprisonment. The cost of imprison- ment is about six times higher than the cost of elec- tronic monitoring.1
Here is the link:

My point is that EM already occurs on a pre-trial basis, without bondsmen being involved. I'm operating on the assumption that someone released on EM pending trial (as many juveniles are) are NOT bonded by a bail bondsmen - they are on Law Enforcement Electronic Monitoring.

Therefore, the degree to which bail is performed by bail bondsmen represents the extent to which individuals are given *greater* access to EM - because bail bondsmen can only "bail" someone who has been denied pre-trial release on EM.

(Again, I'm operating on the assumption that the only individuals who get EM on bail are those who have *already* been denied a ROR or an EM-contract-based release by the judge. )

Then what you are saying is that money determines whether we are putting higher risk persons out on the street.

Rich criminals go free.

> money determines whether we are putting higher risk persons out on the street

Money is both a deterrent from skipping bail, and a tool to assist in recovering an individual who skipped bail.

> higher risk persons

Higher risk from the judge's perspective. Higher risk of leaving town, for example. This is why the accused are asked to surrender passports.

> Rich criminals go free

If we're talking about bail, then we're *not* talking about guilt, because bail comes before a trial.

Nate, We are talking about bail, and we are talking about the effect of income/assets on the cost and availability of bail. So, Rich go free.

Would you be in favor of a rule which set bail as a percentage of disposable income.

Well Bill, it would be easy enough to go into the Bail industry yourself and offer much lower rates. Why not give it a try?

If its a bad public policy, let's add one more provider to it.

By the way, you are also probably a proponent of building more prisons to house the indigent who can't make bail.

You are probably a proponent of straw man arguments.

Not a straw person if the alternative is a fuller jail

Your bail is determined by the severity of your crime, your past criminal history, and the likelihood of you returning for trial. The purpose of bail is to make sure you return for trial.

electronic bands fail at a high rate and are easily defeated. Plus the cost of monitoring or tracking down people who do violate electronic monitoring is beyond the budgets of many communities. They are a joke.

Comparing bail bondsman to electronic monitoring is ridiculous. Why don't we just get rid of police and have video surveillance to prevent crime.

The new no cash bail system is much worse than the prior often uneven system.

You clearly didn't even watch the above video.

George Soros contributes a lot of money to politics. Clearly, all who take his money are doing so for evil purposes. As Bill says, if money is in politics it is to corrupt the system.

Dan, I'll give you some links to research on this subject. EM and other alternative to incarceration other than raising bonds: From there Sage Journal:

The kind of low-level criminals on probation with close contact by probation officers has little to do with the issues in America. Those type of criminals in America easily get bail at a lower cost then what they would pay to have an EM awaiting trial. It is meaningless in the American context.

Why should the size of my assets determine my freedom?

It's a proxy for your worth to society.

If you inherited ...what's your worth.

By the way, wealth is not a proxy to your worth to society.

Ask St. Francis.

Yes I’m sure a guy named Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone was completely unfamiliar with inherited wealth.

Some states in the USA have cash bail but do not allow bail bonds. And (perhaps not surprisingly) cash bail tends to be lower in these states.

Arguably this is a more just system, as 100% of the cash bail is returned to defendants (so long as they show up, of course).

There is something to be said for eliminating the bail-bond industry, but, that's obviously different from simply eliminating cash bail.

...more than half the people in American jails right now are there because they can't make bail (poor and minorities)

the whole American bail system is corrupt

"Money Bail" should not be required in many cases; supervised release would suffice.

And way too many people are physically arrested for minor, non-violent crime allegations -- they should simply be issued a court summons to face the charges at a specified date

"more than half the people in American jails right now are there because they can't make bail (poor and minorities)"

Why can't minorities make the bail if they're not poor? Is the bail set higher for minorities?


Link? Is this disproportionate to their rate of re-offending?

You can start here:

It's typical structural racism BS that relies on a Rube Goldberg machine of effects:

"Previous studies have shown differing results when trying to find a direct relationship between race and pretrial decisions. However, a recent study looked at how race affects extralegal factors, such as education and financial support, which then affect legal factors, such as prior record and severity of charge. Together these factors influence pretrial decisions and outcomes."

Ever live in — or even adjacent to — a bad neighbourhood for a decade or so? “Non violent crimes” is what a goodly percentage of the population call a fun weekend.

The advocates for eliminating cash bail are almost certainly people who carry the following assumptions:

1. They, the public interest bar, are better than ordinary people;

2. The notion that ordinary people are better than the criminal element and properly empowered to set behavioral standards for that criminal element is 'simplistic'.

3. Morally compromised ordinary people (e.g. jail guards) are abusing the mascots of the superior people (public interest lawyers).

4. Determining how to treat those mascots is the social function of elements of the Anointed (such as public interest lawyers, mental health tradesmen, and social workers).

If the sociological arguments used to support their proposal are actually a function of sound observational study, that would be an accident. They don't have to be anything better than specious. And, they are so much trumpery. The complaints about the bail system &c are based on normative arguments the propagators will not acknowledge.

"The notion that ordinary people are better than the criminal element and properly empowered to set behavioral standards for that criminal element is 'simplistic'."

This, times a hundred. The contempt that the "intellectual" class has for the rest of the country is frankly staggering.

Power to the Dumb!

And the Uniformed!

Down With Intelligence!

Up With Stupidity!

Maybe people who don't want to pay bail should not commit crimes.

Profound. What happens to those falsely accused or even just wrong place wrong time...? Someone shouldn't have to spend 15 months in jail because they're accused of stealing a backpack and can't get a court date.

That's the problem, then. Lots of allegued innocent people being thrown into jail. Then we should free all criminals. After all, they all say they are guiltless. It is time to be tough on crime. As President Captain Bolsonaro says, people who don't want to be jailed should not commit crimes.

Try not to look like someone who committed a crime, and definitely don't be the victim of police incompetence.

I think honest people want the authorities to be tough on crime.

That was a great piece, Alex.

Kim Foxx the State's Attorney in Cook County has followed the catch and release model with very negative consequences for the city of Chicago.

Violent felonies are routinely reclassified as non-violent.

"Boy oh boy. Remember we said that after Obama left office, we'd find out the damage he did? Under Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, the Department of Justice pushed the states to pass new laws. The goal was to make it impossible to hold repeat offenders in jail before trial. Why? Because so many repeat offenders are black.

The first step was to reclassify violent felonies as nonviolent misdemeanors. Look at California. Assault with a deadly weapon, harming a crime victim or witness, resisting arrest that injures a police officer...Violent elder or child abuse, arson with injury, and manslaughter are now nonviolent felonies. Proposition 47--passed in 2014--reclassified certain "nonviolent felonies" as misdemeanors. Therefore prisoners convicted of violent elder abuse were released because now their former violent felony was a misdemeanor.

So the Democrats first changed violent felonies to misdemeanors. Then they changed the laws for bail. Washington DC Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier resigned because criminals were being arrested, released, and arrested again the same day. Federal authorities decide who stays in jail in DC. Under pressure from Holder and Lynch, they were releasing everyone."

From the Blog Second City Cop

"The crime rate spiked dramatically. The Democrats are pushing for "community rehabilitation programs" instead of prison. The most repulsive member of congress--@tedlieu, the guy who trolls Trump--has introduced a doozy of a bill. Lieu wants to ELIMINATE bail in the entire country. They point to the "success" of New Jersey, which eliminated bail earlier this year. In New Jersey, a person is evaluated with an eight-question form. Prior offenses are not taken into consideration. As a result almost nobody is held over until trial. Almost everyone is released. The state had to hire new staff and create new computer systems to manage the new system. Releasing everybody has so far cost New Jersey $400 million, and the crime rate is skyrocketing.

Washington DC eliminated bail, and now the city pays $50 million a year to oversee almost no prisoners. Duane and Beth Chapman--He's better known as Dog the Bounty Hunter--testified in Sacramento about the new laws coming. The Chapmans pointed out every loophole they could: a guy who never shows up for trial, for example. They said that the Democrats then TWEAKED the laws to EXCLUDE any possible offender.

What I realized a long time ago is that Democrats' sole motivation is to piss off conservatives. So I'm not surprised that one of our two major parties now wants us to die at the hands of violent criminals. The end result of Democratic "reform" is that criminals now commit crimes with impunity, and people are too afraid to call the cops. There are no penalties for threatening witnesses and skipping your trial. Nobody comes looking for you. And if you get arrested, they immediately release you. You may have heard that more an more celebrities are having their mansions broken into. Alanis Morissette was robbed of $2 million worth of jewelry. This is a new crime, being committed by old gangs such and the Bloods and Crips. It's because there are no penalties. This is just one of the things Obama did to us. And the CURRENT Democrats want to make it even worse. The end."

Build more prisons for those who can't afford bail is your answer. Keep them away from a job or family, even though electronic monitoring would work.

A Great Plan.

"even though electronic monitoring would work"

Well that's the question, isn't it?

Look at the research above. Look at the cost/effectiveness of it. See the stuff I cited.

By the way, everything I’ve cited so far has nothing to do with the bail system. Because I’m an idiot.

The study I ‘linked’ compares electronic monitoring to a control group, and finds that it reduces failure to appear rate by 30%.

The control group was also without bail. Thus rendering the study pointless, but I don’t understand that.

An actual study with merit would compare bail to no bail system, and additionally bail to no bail but with electronic monitoring. I don’t know what control groups are.

Like I said earlier: Up with stupidity!

Beto 2020

Tyler, I would ask that you address this imposter as you know this person's email address. There are ways you can shame this person without disclosing their identity.

I should obviously be free to post false information without question.

Free speech demands that I be unquestioned when providing nonsense. The fact that someone asks me for citations is an affront to my dignity.

What do you want the electronic monitoring to accomplish? Deter crimes? Provide a piece of after-the-fact evidence?

The State of Arizona took five years (2008-13) to process an open-and-shut murder case; Nancy Grace ginned up a great deal of business covering it. The State of Oklahoma took three years (2015-18) to process another such case. Here, there, and the next place, rules of criminal procedure in the hands of determined defense lawyers and lax / inept judges allow for a great deal of witless wheel - spinning. We don't have satisfactory disciplinary systems or satisfactory rules of procedure. State legislature might get off their fat asses and actually do something about that. Federal legislators might go so far as to act to prevent federal judges from officiously gumming up the works of state courts.

Here's a suggestion: have a formulaic indemnity for people whose time behind bars exceeds a statutory standard for any crimes they have been determined by the courts to have committed. Have the indemnity a function of the nominal employee compensation per worker in the state in question. A released defendant could apply to the state treasurer for the indemnity and contest any award deemed insufficient to an administrative tribunal.

I agree. The "justice" system that creates delays as a major part of its principal function of ballooning to the size of the universe, has some nerve shaming the public for holding defendants too long.

How much money would be needed for philanthropy and to cover bail for most people? If this is such an injustice, why aren’t the Obama’s going around drumming up donations for it? The Clinton’s buckracking has brought in at least $500 million, and presumably the Obama’s could do better than that. I mean, they could start by raising money from Silicon Valley types and from Gates, Buffet, and Bezos to do a proof of concept in a small state.

Great idea: impose a needless cost and have others pay for it, rather than asking the hard question.

Needless???? The people who are released after arrest, murder someone and then are re-arrested... holding them would serve no purpose??

Not on point. Irrelevant to cash bail system. Relevant only to prior history and seriousness of crime and likelihood of recidivism. People are detained without bail. Try to be logical.

See my comment below. It's tiresome to have people pretending that bail serves absolutely no purpose and exists for no reason.

Who said bail serves no purpose?? It's just that there are different alternatives, including incarceration. Let the rich go free, and the poor stay in jail.

This is indeed a good idea, and it is being done. Look up the Bail Project. They are posting bail for people in various jurisdictions and doing careful studies of the success of the program. Check it out.

I think the Koch brothers should fund this instead.

That’s a good idea; it is definitely in keeping with their libertarian philosophy.

I didn’t see anything about the Bail Project doing research, much less high quality research.

"Mass incarceration" just means criminals are incarcerated.

30 years ago we curbed our "soft on crime" system and now enjoy record low crime.

Now, we are throwing it away so "elites" can feel good about themselves. Madness.

People don’t realize it, but the US actually has pretty low crime rates compared to other Western nations (though not compared to Confucian nations). The US just has an elevated homicide rate because there are so many guns. But mass incarceration does work at preventing crime by keeping criminals off the streets.

Alex's first response to "eliminate cash bail" is that some people who can't make bail are dangerous. That is true but an odd defense of cash bail.

If a defendant is too dangerous to safely release into the public, they should be ordered to be detained. Why use cash bail as a backdoor way to detain someone who is dangerous? The unfortunate (and unconstitutional) byproduct of using cash bail to detain someone is that the few dangerous defendants who are wealthy will be released, while the many dangerous defendants who are poor will be detained.

Alex's second point is that cash bail can serve as an incentive for people to show up to court (and that the private bail industry can assist with that). This is only true for people who can afford bail, which is a relatively small percentage of the population. For someone with little to no money, a cash bail system is just a de facto detention system.

I think the point is that for certain people, the risk is intermediate- enough to require a surety but not enough to detain them if they can provide that surety. Without the surety, their risk of not appearing is too great.

What is the adequate amount of surety without that becoming a punishment in itself. Consider this proposal: bail should be a fixed and equal percentage of disposable income and/or assets. Alex would pay higher bail, a student lower bail, and an inner city resident with low income even less...but, they would be exposing the same percentage of disposable income and or assets to the bondsman. When you look at it as percentage of disposable income, you see the difference, even if you wish to ignore it.

Of course it makes perfect sense to include the person's resources in the equation, if that is knowable. At the same time, it is only one factor. The ultimate aim is to reduce re-offending prior to trial and ensure that defendants show up for trial.

If you think percentage of disposable assets make any sense, you're on the wrong path, like the adherents of PPP GDP.

A proper bail amount, is one that makes the victim of the crime indifferent to whether the defendant shows up. That amount is typically unrelated to the means of the defendant. In criminal charges, the state takes the role of the victim, the state is "victimized" by one of its subjects not following its edicts.

Making it proportionate to disposable income simply highlights the unfairness and the disproportionate pre-trial penalty.

If you’re raped by a man with no income, you should expect to be murdered before trial. Anything else is white privilege.

#justice, #equality, #I-Don’t-Understand-Incentives, #SocialJustice

A phony Bill. I would ask Tyler to correct this.

What should we set Alex's bail at if he were to have committed a serious offense? What should we set a student's bail at if he had committed the same serious offense? What should we set an inner city youth's bail at if he had committed the same serious offense?

What role will AI play in setting bail in each of the above, and would that be fair.

By the way, let me tell you why I have an interest in this. Our neighborhood benefitted from and relied upon a really good handyman and painter who everyone liked and used. One season he was gone, and no one could locate him. As it turned out, he was arrested with a second DWI. He determined that it was cheaper to stay in jail than to post bond. Had me and our neighbors known this I am sure we could have helped him. This guy had a wife by the way and was attached to his community.

I think he also chose not to pay a fine after conviction but spend the time in the workhouse, He lived out of town and would have had to drive into town for work in our neighborhood. No license.

Clearly, in addition to eliminating bail we should stop suspending friendly neighborhood painters’ licenses merely for the crime of committing multiple DUIs.

I've Trademarked my name, you phony Bill, and will set Michael Avennati after you when he gets out of jail.

Out of jail for which charge?

Domestic violence, assault, extortion, wire fraud, mail fraud, or tax fraud? There’s a long list for the Democrat hero of the Kavanaugh affair.

Tyler, I would ask that someone who is using my name as an imposter be exposed in a way that would not reveal their true identity but which would shame or discourage them. I will send you an email on how this can be done if you are interested. Bill

Let us shed some crocodile tears for the guy who apparently wasn't so attached to the community that he was willing to recklessly endanger the members of the community (and I'm betting that if it's his second DUI charge he drove drunk on more than 2 occasions).

Students at GMU aren't getting out free for free either. No, they are not criminals (not all of them), but they are staying in, to eat. GMU has a robot food delivery service, and students are taking advantage of it and eating in, especially for breakfast. There's a rumor that all of the faculty at GMU will soon be replaced by robots, but some claim they already have been. You know, when I was a college student, having a cold pizza delivered to the dorm was considered really convenient. And nobody read Ayn Rand (Ann who?). Times have changed. Here's the story on the GMU robots:

Excellent comments, Anthony Hopkins, er, Alex Tabarrok.

I appreciate your thoughts on this topic, they're interesting and counterintuitive.

If I understand you correctly, the key moving pieces in your argument are bounty hunters and bondsmen (more so than a per se change in the defendant's incentives upon posting bail).

Let's assume this system works, then the question becomes why not just directly subsidize bounty hunting?

It's very expensive to detain people. Let's stick with New York since you gave that example. It evidently costs $325/day to detain someone in New York City. I'm not entirely sure of these figures, but some quick Google suggests that the typical premium on a bail bond is 10-15% of the face value.

Your figures seem to suggest something different, but according to the Vera Institute of Justice, 54% of NYC defendants are held on bail of less than $2,500 (

So, that suggests that holding these people for even a single day is more expensive than if the government were to pay for their bail, setting in motion the series of actions by bondsman and bounty hunters that help ensure defendants appear.

I can understand the libertarian attraction to handling these things through the free market, but if it's really true that bounty hunters and reminder phone calls work, then it follows that it would be cheaper for the government to provide these (either by contracting with private individuals or building the capacity internally).

It might be more politically palatable for the government to insource such tasks to law enforcement rather than outsourcing them to bondsmen. Even if that's much less efficient than the private market, there still seems to be a significant cost advantage to hiring some government employees to make reminder phone calls and some more law enforcement officers to chase down bail jumpers if those tactics really work.

Interesting post, especially since I first read the headline as meaning you'd gotten bail, and I was reading to find out what for.

Why talk to idiots?

According to Brookings “Electronic monitoring devices to track those on probation or parole have been around since the 1980s, but the devices remain highly flawed. False positive alerts overwhelm corrections officials, ‘tamper-proof’ devices can be circumvented, and technical glitches interfere with users’ ability to hold down a job.
Unfortunately, with the proliferation of electronic devices comes increased reports of their failing. In 2011, California officials conducted tests on the monitoring devices worn by 4,000 high-risk sex offenders and gang members, and according to the LA Times, found that “batteries died early, cases, cracked, tampering alerts failed, and reported locations were off by as much as three miles”. Parolees were able to thwart the devices by covering them in tinfoil or going indoors. Parole officers were inundated with as many as a thousand alerts per day, and meaningless alerts led officers to worry that they were missing actual instances of fleeing parolees.
Trouble with monitoring devices is not limited to California. An audit in Tennessee found that 80 percent of alerts from offender monitoring devices were not checked by officers. Similar issues came to light in Colorado and New York when officers missed or ignored repeated alerts of device failure and then several parolees committed violent crimes. Officers in Florida were so overwhelmed with alerts that they stopped all real-time notifications, save those relating to device removal, and as a result, did not notice when one parolee broke his curfew 53 times in one month before killing three people.

A 2017 examination by the University College London and Australian National University of 33 studies of electronic monitoring worldwide found widespread technological problems.

DOC sees it another way. “There is no such thing as a ‘false alert,’ ” Cook said. He said the law requires offenders to be taken into custody until such alerts can be resolved; DOC can have them jailed for up to three days to determine whether a violation occurred.
DOC records show it can take days or even weeks to locate errant offenders, especially if they are homeless or have removed their bracelets.

Recent studies show that electronic monitoring combined with traditional parole methods and treatment could lower rates of arrests, convictions and returns to custody. But a University College London study speculates that any positive effects may be due to increased compliance with treatment programs, not the monitoring itself.

Susan Turner, a professor of criminology, law and society at University of California-Irvine, argues such systems do not provide much benefit for the cost.
In a 2015 study on California’s GPS program that she co-authored, Turner found the system does reduce recidivism, but only for administrative violations such as failure to register as a sex offender, not for criminal sex and assault violations, where recidivism is already “very low.”
“I think they (lawmakers) had the tail wagging the dog,” Turner said. “They hadn't really thought through what exactly they hoped to accomplish by putting it on, other than just saying we got the GPS on the sex offender.”

Dan, the technology is changing. In 2007, the first iPhone was introduced; a study reported in 2011 on older technology isn't where it is at.

Look at your fitbit.

Unfortunately, the criminal justice system sticks with old technology because of public funding and other constraints. I would be perfectly happy if the accused were given the opportunity to rent a state of the art monitoring device; and, frankly, the person wearing would probably appreciate the new technology as well.

But, a bracelet is not the only solution is this interconnected word. Say, as a condition of no bail, the court would have the authority to freeze your credit card, put a hold on your bank account, cut off your iPhone account , repossess your car, and put a lock on your rental apartment with your clothes in it.

Would you show up in court.

Where did these people without the ability to borrow $2500 get a credit card, an iPhone, a car, and an apartment?

Jeb, Obviously if you do not have a credit card, bank account or something that could be interfered with by the court your terms would be different. But, if you did have a bank account, cell phone, rental house, you would.

Recently an off duty Chicago Cop was shot and killed as he sat in a car. The shooter was on probation for a class X attempted burglary. He had been given curfews and ordered to wear an EM. He let the batteries on his EM run down and it became inoperable. He went before a judge because of this probation violation and the judge decided it was more effort than it was worth so he had the EM order terminated. No penalty for violation of terms of parole because the EM's are a pain to deal with. Two weeks later he shot and killed the off duty officer. Yes EM's work all the time.

Even some who are released on bond commit a crime. That's not the question. The question is given costs and benefit analysis which is better.

You've heard of a bell curve and distributions, and tails, right. So, don't give one emotional example as persuasive evidence.

Simplistically dividing the sample into two groups for the purpose of this comment, Rich White Folks (RWF) and Poor Black Folks and Hillbillies (PBFH): wrt bail, assuming the purpose is to get them to appear for trial, not a punishment in itself, then: RWFs are less likely than PBFHs to be violent street criminals, more likely to be traceable, many fewer RWFs than PBFHs, and more likely to have assets they want to keep. Of course, these are testable hypotheses. The results may run counter to political trends. A considerable amount of the American legal system seems to be internally inconsistent (within itself) and externally inconsistent (with what various interest and identity groups want).
It's not all about Race.
And the Beatles were not overrated.

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