Whether or not someone is able to bail out of jail can have major consequences on sentencing and conviction. A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that people who remained in jail before trial were more likely to plead guilty to a crime, and more likely to be found guilty by a jury.
Plus, forty percent of those in the Los Angeles County jail system are pre-trial. That means about 6,500 prisoners are not serving a sentence for a crime, they're just waiting for a resolution to their case.
If you have the money, getting out on bail is pretty straightforward. But if you don't, you need to hire the services of someone like Clay Potter, a bail bondsman.
In this episode, George Lavender talks to Potter about how he decides whether or not to help bail someone out. Then, Lavender follows two arrestees as they wind their way through the bail system. Finally, Lavender asks a criminal defense attorney whether she thinks the current system is fair.
Photo: The Los Angeles bail bonds office of Bob Swann (George Lavender)