For friends and family members of a person who’s been arrested, the act of paying bail is a stressful and confusing process. Beyond finding the money cover the cost of bail, payers also have to decide how to pay. There are usually two options: cash bail or a bail bond. But there are big differences between paying with cash and paying with a bond—and people have important rights when paying with either. Those who don’t understand their rights are often taken advantage of and lose more money. This adds to the injustice of the bail system, which sends about 45,000 New Yorkers to jail each year simply because they can’t afford to pay bail.
CUP collaborated with Brooklyn Community Bail Fund and designer Alex Tatusian to create Bail’s Set, What’s Next?, a guide that helps bail payers understand the difference between cash bail and bail bonds, and navigate the process of paying. This booklet uses a series of scenarios to help individuals make informed decisions about how to pay based on their own financial situations. It also includes information on how and where to pay, when payers are entitled to refunds, how payers can try to protect themselves from illegally high fees.
Get your copy of the booklet here.