Author Type

Graduate Student


Currently, in the United States, the bail system is not being utilized the way that it was originally intended to be used. Research shows that it unfairly provides wealthier individuals more opportunities for success and those who are minorities and/or of low socioeconomic status are more likely to be convicted and face harsher sentences. Many factors influence a judge’s decision to grant bail; however, some of these factors are based on unfair stereotypes and are inherently discriminatory. While minority groups face discrimination within the bail system, Hispanic/Latino individuals face the most challenges in regard to the bail system in America. The following paper will provide a historical overview of bail to provide context of how much the system has changed and evolved since the origins of America, followed by descriptions of the various types of bail, then different factors that impact a judge’s decision to grant bail will be detailed. Theoretical perspectives that help understand judicial decisions to grant bail will also be examined. Consequences of bail decisions on jail populations, the effects of race/ethnicity on pretrial incarceration, and the effects of not being able to pay bail will also be discussed, followed by policy implications for how America can improve policies and procedures regarding the bail system to help prevent discrimination from occurring.