Between 2012 and 2016 more than $19 billion in bail was levied on individuals arrested for felonies and misdemeanors by the Los Angeles Police Department, according to a new study conducted by the Million Dollar Hoods research team based at UCLA. Of this, $17.5 million in cash went to the court and more than $193 million in nonrefundable bail bond deposits were pocketed by bail bond agents.
The report, “The Price for Freedom: Bail in the City of L.A.,” is the work of Kelly Lytle Hernandez, interim director of UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, and two UCLA graduate students: Isaac Bryan, a master of public policy student at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and Terry Allen, an education doctoral candidate.
In most cases in California, those who are arrested for crimes have the right to freedom before trial if they can post bail set by the court. Money bail is the mechanism for this freedom, which is also intended to ensure that the accused will appear for all court pretrial and trial proceedings.