RIKERS ISLAND, New York — In New York City there are hundreds of women and juveniles in jail without having been convicted. Most of them are held at Rikers Island. Some people say they should be there for public safety reasons. Others say these alleged offenders are only there because they can’t afford bail.
Bail reform is the issue the RFK Foundation wanted to address last month when they embarked upon the largest mass bailout in history.
Led by Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, the organization bailed out as many women and juveniles as they could with indifference to the alleged offense. Many in the law enforcement community may agree that something should be done about the cash bail system, but springing people en masse isn’t it.
One side says bail criminalizes the poor because rich people can bail themselves out with indifference to the alleged offense. The other side says some of these people need to be in jail because they pose a risk to public safety.
VICE News visited Rikers Island to see how the RFK Foundation is conducting the largest mass bailout, and how law enforcement and top prosecutors are taking action.
This segment originally aired November 13, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.