Instant money loans: Payday loan firms are ruining lives

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Chilling moment hooded thugs shot at police helicopter during Birmingham riots

Our latest Freakonomics Radio episode is called “Are Payday Loans Really as Evil as People Say? ” (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.). Critics — including President Obama — say short-term, high-interest loans are predatory, trapping borrowers in a cycle of debt. Pawn Shops near me to get Conventional Pawn, Cash Advance and Title Loans at 15 locations across Alabama. Find your nearest Quik pawn shop in Alabama. And the payday loans industry, which is now worth £2 billion in the UK, is spending millions of pounds to woo young, working women who are feeling the pinch.

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At trial or, more realistically, when he pleads guilty Joe is sentenced to six months. The X days count as part of the six months, so Joe has to serve six months minus X days, for a total time in jail of six months.

Scenario 2 Joe is arrested and the Bronx Freedom Fund pays his bail. He spends 0 days in jail waiting for trial. He has no time served to count against that sentence, so he spends a total of six months in jail after getting sentenced. So, either way, Joe spends the same number of days in jail assuming he gets the same sentence.

I see, good point. Although this is assuming the sentence will inevitably involve jail time. But as to crimes where a jail sentence is likely, I think the issue I pointed out changes the analysis a lot. What it means is that the only effect this intervention has on days-in-jail occurs because its a good way to help people avoid being convicted or cause them to be sentenced to a lower term of imprisonment.

But there are a lot of competing interventions that have the goal of reducing the days-in-jail by reducing sentence length or odds of conviction. Most obviously, better funding for public defenders is a competitor intervention that reduces total days-in-jail by reducing sentence length or odds of conviction. I know of one case where that happened. Friend of mine spent 6 months in psychiatric review or whatever its called pretrial. Prosecutor offered time served and the judge shot it down on the grounds that he had to have some additional punishment after pleading out.

That seems to happen a lot in my country, possibly also because people can get compensation for the time they spent incarceration innocently. So if the final sentence is the same as time spend in jail pre-trial, the judge will save the government money. Even if the suspect is actually guilty and the sort of scoundrel that we need to punish severely, that particular sort of punishment seems almost perversely calculated to maximize the probabiliyy of recidivism.

So, using the numbers we have: This is a very good point. If the main fear is them running away. Would be interesting to look at how successful these are for their cost. Those systems were probably developed during the era when the landline was king, and using a radio signal to a base station was the best way to determine location in consumer electronics.

Now, GPS is a thing, and the anklet itself should be able to talk directly to a cell tower. In general, new technology should be lowering the crime rate every year. Can you elaborate on this? I think the idea is that Ferguson caused a top-down change in urban policing approaches which led to an increase in violent crime — see Wikipedia. The homicide rate has shot up in heavily black cities since , especially in cities like Baltimore and Chicago with large scale Black Lives Matter protests.

With regard to the comparison between BFF and AMF, and the issue of preventing suffering vs preserving life, keep in mind that a portion of the good from preventing malaria is in reducing suffering for survivors, not just in preventing deaths due to the disease. Why do we allow bail bondsman? Like, the way it works without bail bondsman in theory is that the judge picks a an amount of money that the defendant would be reluctant to lose by running off.

But then bail bondsmen enter the picture. So, naturally, the judge thinks that the bail needs to be higher. But, of course, the state could just pay private bounty hunters. Is this all just a sneaky way to privatise hunting for bail jumpers without admitting to it? Or am I missing something? I thought the smaller amount you paid to the bail bondsmen was non-refundable. Not sure if they can then charge you additional money if you fail to show, might vary by state.

The only reason to show up is that someone will come after you and drag you back, and things will be worse for you after they do. I, for example, got a bail so ridiculously high no bail number listed in this post gets up to even a fraction of it. I feel like something crooked is going on. The bail bondsman has a strong financial incentive to accurately determine who will or will not skip bail.

Depending on your goals, one of those incentives will lead to better outcomes than the other. When I got bail one time I was pretty shaken by what I was inviting a bounty hunter to do: So they do have the ability to be much more effective that cops could. I had to of course pay fees to be held at the station overnight when I was arrested. So the station made some money, the defender made some money, the bondsman made some money.

Since you now have added private bounty hunters, the probability of people jumping bail goes down, and the number of people who jump bail who are then caught goes up. My impression is that private bounty hunters are way better than the police, because the police have other things to do.

However, now that lower amount of money is lost whereas previously you could get it back because it pays for private bounty hunters. It seems almost Pareto-better to have the state hire more police, and then for the police to work on whatever public safety thing seems most important, which may be searching for people who skipped out on bail.

The problem is that there are two competing things going on with police: Increasing the number of cops beyond their current numbers does not automatically provide labor to replace bounty hunters because of this tension. In the beginning, the defendant paid his own bail. But sometimes a relative would put up the money. Eventually the lenders started skipping the relatives and loaning the money directly to defendants.

So each step seems reasonable, but then you get bail bondsmen in the end, which seems a bit weird. The libertarian in me sees the incarceration numbers as abnormal, hates the drug war, suspects that the state is up to no good and is probably harassing a lot of fundamentally decent people, etc. Even if I concede that some of them are innocents being punished for no good reason, SOME of them are surely guilty.

Why should I give my money to a cause that helps a decent amount of probably-guilty people when the amount of bad hombres benefiting from my malaria nets is assuredly much lower? Does anyone have a good response to this?

This is the antithesis of effective altruism: Per this post there is no real evidence that letting people be free pre-trial would significantly increase the harm they do to others. The BFF gives even more favorable figures: Unless some dope pays to reduce their odds of ending up in prison that is…. I suppose they could also be guilty and get away with it, in which case they dodged some unauthorized punishment in the form of being jailed pre-trial.

But I would reconsider IF such a charity existed and promised to pay bail for those accused of victimless crimes only. I would happily contribute to paying bail for anyone whose sole charges were things like drugs, prostitution, gambling, firearms possession, etc.

But I am not particularly interested in doing so for those accused of theft, assault, vandalism, etc. You could make a similar argument about the right to legal counsel and the resultant system of public defenders:. Even conceding that some of them are innocents being wrongfully punished, SOME of them are surely guilty. Why should we secure for ourselves the right to legal counsel, if that helps a decent amount of probably-guilty people, when our efforts constitutional and otherwise could be better spent elsewhere?

For example, by sending our public defenders to aid people in legal battles not pertaining to their having been accused of crimes. Of course, by this standard any positive amount helps; the aim is presumably to anchor donations at some kind of optimal point. I wondered about that too. The bail system does seem pretty stupid, to be honest. I have to say, though, that none of the studies really convinced me that getting off on bail helps your case in any significant way.

Do the stricter judges that assign bail not also hear your subsequent case? Can you actually not pay the bail yourself? How does that work? Or does being in jail sort of shut that whole thing down?

And worth noting that this is presumably one question out of many in a lengthy survey which most people want to complete reasonably quickly. My guess is that making bail is the absolute emergency to end all emergencies. Whoops — I should have read page Bail is a little like homelessness, which in practice is often a test of whether anybody you know would let you crash on their couch for awhile. If they want proof that Bill Gates will show up, they ask for a billion dollars.

Those kind of Bonfire of the Vanities-type stories are less depressing than the typical arrest. Remember, the right is defined by their belief in personal responsibility over systemic causes. Consequently, criminals are dehumanized, in the textbook sense of the word. Part of coming to a negotiated solution that is agreeable to all parties is recognizing that there will be negative consequences to any solution, in this case, regarding crime as either a personal or a systemic problem.

Drug abuse is a risk, and a risk with negative consequences both to the user and the people around them. The more the costs of those risks are borne by others, the more incentive people have to push that risk away using the blunt instrument of law.

Long, but worth reading for anyone interested in these issues. I dropped the whole file in my long list of things to read in full, but this is currently only a partial response. Their plan for regulation of hard drugs is two parts massive optimism and one part question avoiding. Sure, and some people currently choose cocaine instead of crack. Anyone who has watched The Wire knows that the demand goes where the potency goes. They adopted specific strategies to obfuscate the fact that they had weak product.

Joe Crackhead wants 5 units of crack on Tuesday, but Government Bureaucrat is only allowed to sell him 3 units. When he goes back to sucking dick in order to buy the remaining two units off the black market, are you going to arrest any of the parties involved?

Will you let those cops carry guns in case any of the parties gets violent? Regarding Joe Crackhead trying to buy more than legal limits, they are pretty clear that some activities would need to remain prohibited, including those involving violence. But most cocaine users are not Joe Crackhead, and reducing the harms associated with the illegal market supply the otherwise non-problematic consumers would be worthwhile — as they put it on p.

Regarding the possibility of increased use … well, yes, we would expect use to rise. But we would also expect average harm per instance of use to drop, and to drop considerably when we consider that legal regulation would allow more safe preparations to come to market, purity and dosage controls etc, before you even consider the harms to others that would be avoided by the most lucrative sector of the black market being largely taken out of the hands of criminals and terrorists.

As they say, they favour a cautious, phased introduction, and if it becomes apparent that the use of a drug under legal regulation is so much more disastrous for society than the harms caused by that drug being supplied by the criminal market, then that drug, or that version of the drug can continue to be prohibited.

But it is at least plausible that, say, the ongoing carnage in Mexico, the rivers of cash flowing to the Taliban, the questionable commitment to human rights and the rule of law shown by the current president of the Philippines , etc, are too high a price to pay to combat a problem that could be managed at the cost of far less blood if we were only willing to let governments regulate the market so as to optimise for public health, and let non-criminals enter the market where they can be expected to behave more responsibly.

Of course, you can detail all kinds of harms that flow from the black market. I never disputed that those exist. If not, why not? Under alcohol prohibition, whiskey was cheaper than beer because it was easier to smuggle higher-concentration illegal substances.

When alcohol was re-legalized the economics no longer favored higher-concentration substances. Post-prohibition it no longer mattered so much to smugglers that they have a large arrest risk per unit volume of alcohol or to bar proprietors that they have a large arrest risk per sale or per unit time the bar is serving alcohol so a huge economic incentive to ship and consume harder drugs is removed.

Buying alcohol did get cheaper — and more people did consume — but buying less potent alcohol beer and wine got much cheaper relative to the price of more potent alcohol. So economic incentives led to lighter drinking post-Prohibition. That problem also went away with the end of prohibition. Under alcohol prohibition competing distributors who got into business conflicts sometimes resolved them using machine guns instead of lawsuits.

After heroin was made illegal the drug became so expensive that shooting up became the preferred delivery method, adding a great many additional negative health effect possibilities HIV, infections… which would mostly go away again if it were made legal.

Portugal decriminalized all drugs in — sales was still illegal, but possession and use stopped being considered a criminal matter. This experiment went extremely well and the harm done by drug use has not increased — overdose deaths are less common there than almost any other country.

Spain and Italy have also decriminalized drug use, and have similarly not seen any negative effect in terms of increased drug harms. My theory says that decriminalization should have a similar kind of effect as legalization.

There are current efforts to make pot production legal there as well. Do you know of any examples to the contrary? Make your argument without this, please. Pretty much everyone looks at that data and sees what they already thought. People on both sides pick out particular stats with lots of qualifiers attached. The other case countries are similar. Also note that if you want to make the alcohol comparison, historians believe that the effects of prohibition on consumption extended a couple decades after repeal, soo….

After heroin was made illegal the drug became so expensive that shooting up became the preferred delivery method. If the most demand was for low-potency heroin, surely the black market is capable of providing it, no? Alcohol can easily be manufactured in common concentrations that span a twenty-fold difference in volume. Given the quantity that must be consumed for the desired effect, that can be a significant barrier to smuggling.

This is not the case for heroin. It is not significantly more difficult to smuggle your proposed pills of low-potency heroin. Instead, what is the vastly more likely explanation for this phenomenon is that like many other markets the demand for these drugs follows a Pareto distribution.

In a world where the only heroin available is low-potency Bayer pills, these are the folks who smash up 20 pills to consume in a moment… or maybe they alter the substance on their own in order to change the delivery mechanism. Not only does it make them the most money, but it reduces the number of customers they must interact with, which reduces their chance of being arrested.

Low-potency users substitute with other, readily-available substances anyway. It is exceedingly unlikely that removing drug prohibition is going to simply solve the issue of problem users. Let me break my rule about comparing prohibitions, so that I can appropriately blow your mind — prohibition of alcohol is a great example. Death rates from cirrhosis and alcoholism, alcoholic psychosis hospital admissions, and drunkenness arrests all declined steeply during the latter years of the s, when both the cultural and the legal climate were increasingly inhospitable to drink, and in the early years after National Prohibition went into effect.

They rose after that, but generally did not reach the peaks recorded during the period to After Repeal, when tax data permit better-founded consumption estimates than we have for the Prohibition Era, per capita annual consumption stood at 1.

They just added to their business. Prohibition of marijuana is different from alcohol one way this is true is that alcohol can be made from just about any food.

Prohibition of either is different from heroin. Is that a revised projection, AMF getting worse, or low hanging fruit having been picked, possibly due to better funding? I would love to get more clarity on this. Here are their evaluations and here is their spreadsheet calculations.

These are different things. Because there are so many criminals, giving them all trials means they have to wait, and some of them will naturally prefer to plead guilty than sit in jail for two years awaiting trial, particularly if they have a low chance of winning. If so, no, not the way to go. Or are you suggesting stupid laws are leading to lots of people being thrown in prison?

If so, see the nifty infographic. Most people in prison, are there for murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary or theft. Murders and assaults over drug territory or disputes over payment in drug transactions, robberies, burglaries and thefts to obtain money for drugs which, granted, would still happen with legal drugs, but with lower prices might happen less.

That is a very good question that deserves a quantitative answer. Total number in prison has little to do with total number of court cases. If you are convicted of murder you are relatively unlikely to be back in court for other charges in the long term. People with traffic violations, drug arrests and other minor offenses tend to make up most of the actual arrests.

Unvetted link claims almost 11 million arrests nation wide, with , being violent crime, 1. Stripping away many of the lower classes of crimes especially non violent drug crime would relieve a huge amount of pressure from the entire judicial system, without even taking into account to what the nybbler above talks about.

After being picked up, assessed a small large fine and missing days of work they are released back into the general population. This has two effects. Lost wages, fine and possible lost job negatively impacts immediate finances and future potential earnings.

Employees not showing up is an obvious harm for employers, but minor drug charges are frequently worse because employees that become friends, hang out, and do drugs together have a high chance of getting arrested together. They unemployed are far more likely to be arrested. Reducing causes of UE will likely lead to lower crime rates. There are additional probable knock off effects.

Sentence length is often determined by prior records. In some areas 3 strike laws it is mandatory that prior offenders get longer sentences. Shorter sentences means a lower prison population. Any criminal behavior that stems from time in prison meeting and associating with career criminals probably increases future crime rates will be reduced, further cutting the crime rate.

Link to the persons arressted page where it specifically says. The highest number of arrests were for drug abuse violations estimated at 1,, arrests , driving under the influence estimated at 1,, , and larceny-theft estimated at 1,, As the crime rate has gone down in this century, prosecutors have had more time for jury trials so they are less likely to plea bargain down to a light sentence than during the peak crime era in the late 20th Century.

Not as much, because the bail bondsmen are providing a service to the court by ensuring people show up for trial. From this article, for example:. And even if incriminating statements by a suspect are always solid evidence, it seems odd that we should gate off access to those statements by how rich the suspect is. The video is worth watching. A cynical person like myself might think that prisoners are extorted to claim that other prisoners confessed.

Took the words out of my mouth. Why should the condition that makes guilty people more likely to be convicted be applied disproportionately to people who are broke? What if people who make the kind of bad decisions which lead to being broke are more likely to also make bad decisions like committing crimes?

Your options change pretty dramatically once you are in prison. Lots of other compounding factors are possible like getting arrested out of state. I do worry that sentences are really, really long. Instead, my guess is that Senator Blowhard felt that he could score some points being Tough On Crime by making the sentences for some crime longer.

I can think of four justifications for jail time: The last is big for a lot of people, but probably not for people around here. Though I will admit that I would get utility from knowing that e. The first and second are probably quite important.

Jail is a subcategory of punishment, for which five major purposes are generally identified. AIUI, rehabilitation used to be more prevalent before public US opinion turned strongly away from mental institutions. The utilitarian and consequentalist in me favor both. But this is not something I follow closely. My impression is that there are a fair number of rehabilitation-oriented programs in prisons.

In particular, a lot of guys who dropped out of high school before going to prison end up getting GEDs inside, and that probably helps them get a job when they get out. I knew a guy who got sent to one after getting arrested for forging prescriptions to get opiods. According to the lawcomic guy , rehabilitation is tricky because the vast majority of people who can be or want to be rehabilitated are automatically rehabilitated by any contact with the criminal justice system.

Any contact is enough to wake somebody up to the fact that this is real life, this really matters and they need to keep their noses clean. Not being arrested is not the same as not re-offending.

Between the semi random nature of arrests and the ability of people to learn how to hide their behavior to avoid future arrests this conclusion is really unwarranted with the data presented, pun intended. Why do you think those policies were responsible for the crime wave? I would think that the effect of sentencing policies on crime would be the first place you would look, so I have to assume that the relationship is not so clear cut.

Certainly it makes sense to me that harsh sentencing and increased law enforcement expenditures caused the reduction in crime, but it seems that many experts disagree. I think the cause of the crime wave and its end are both still hotly debated in criminology circles. Abortion basically the theory that we pre-emptively killed off a lot of the criminal class before they were born. I think Steve made a pretty strong argument against this theory in the past. Changes in the criminal justice system.

The dates for leaded gasoline kinda fit, but it seems like we should have seen falling average IQs instead of the Flynn effect if a lot of people were getting lead-poisoning-related brain damage. This is actually my guess—I think the decline in traditional families, social disruptions, popular entertainment glamorizing gangster life, crack, meth, etc. This is one of the reasons the lead-crime hypothesis is so persuasive. Not only does recorded crime fit the predictions of the theory—both in timing and slope—but it does so in many different countries.

What other theory would predict a gradual drop in violent crime between in the US and a sharp decline in violent crime between in Britain? Especially considering that the US and Britain have entirely different policing, poverty rates, race issues, etc.? HBC, the obvious question raised by the graph in that article is why the violent crime rate shot up between and before rapidly declining.

I think that's unlikely. It's also strange that the violent crime rate did not track the overall crime rate during that period, which peaked in the early s just like in the US. And there was no spike or fall in homicides. So overall I would have to say that lead doesn't explain why Britain experienced a very sharp and short crime wave during that period.

Also, that chart looks nothing like what I found from another source: Did all this lead being spewed from freeways in Sherman Oaks, CA lead to high crime rates? It seems more likely it caused the Valley Girl accent.

Not a superfund site, but there has been at least one study that linked crime rates and lead poisoning at the census tract level. Drum has written about Australia as well. I think some international comparisons are in order. You learn the prosecutor is asking the judge for the full sentence, under the law, for every circumstances-applicable crime under every statute on the books.

Being part of the criminal conspiracy that sells illegal drugs that cause an overdose death is a serious crime. But perhaps we can agree that it is maybe not years-in-jail-serious? Particularly when you think about how little is entailed: Surely there are third world countries where people need bail amounts that are, because of poverty and exchange rates, paltry compared to American bail and where your bail money can go farther and where prisoners may even be more likely to be innocent, because of corruption.

The primary cost of bailing someone out is the system to deliver the money, rather than the money itself, which gets recycled. In other words, if Impoverished Country X has its own version of the Bronx Freedom Fund and a website to donate to , it might well be a worthier cause.

Think of it as EA-lite. Though your last assumption is likely false. Especially if their normal means of obtaining income is best avoided while they await trial. The Bronx Freedom Fund intrigues me, but several people here have already stated reservations about it which I somewhat agree with. Nevertheless, I may make a donation — but I would prefer to know my options first, hence this request.

If the numbers in the post are accurate, charity is a poor way to solve this problem. Good old reliable greed should be more than enough! So it should be quite profitable for an individual, or a company, to cover bail in exchange for labor.

They are too risky to employ. Court dates are supposed to be within 45 days of the arraignment, according to a quick Google. The ability of prosecutors to coerce guilty pleas out of defendants through the plea bargaining process is a violation of the right to a trial by jury, plain and simple. In a properly-functioning criminal justice system, almost all arrests should be settled by either a dismissal of charges when the prosecution realizes they will lose if they go to trial or guilty plea when the defendant realizes ditto.

Actual trials should occur only when some freakish arrangement of facts leaves the case balanced on the knife edge of reasonable doubt, or when someone is being pointlessly stubborn. But you could probably sell me on 75….

Why would any defendant agree to a plea bargain? If they were innocent, because they were intimidated. If they were guilty, in exchange for a lesser sentence than their crime deserved. So plea bargaining requires either punishing the innocent, or going easy on the guilty. But it gets the conviction statistics up. It certainly makes it look like you are being tough on crime. If you have some amount of money for a justice system, you may prefer to spend it on cops and prisons than on lawyers and judges, and a well-functioning plea bargain system facilitates this.

Plea bargaining like the whole justice system is a tradeoff between a bunch of different goals—justice for the accused, public safety, efficiency of the justice system, etc. What I think we need to know is: How would we know if we were making a bad tradeoff? For example, what fraction of people in prison right now mostly plea-bargainers are innocent of the specific crime that sent them there?

What fraction are innocent of any serious crime, and the cops just flat got the wrong guy? Getting some kind of handle on those numbers would help us know if we were making a bad tradeoff.

Suppose we could somehow determine that nearly everyone in prison was guilty. This article based on a survey of a bunch of people involved in the justice department suggests about half a percent of prisoners are innocent.

Anyone have better data? One terrifying piece of evidence is the Roman-Walsh-Lachman-Yaner study. In of these cases, a person was convicted of the rape, and they were successfully able to run DNA tests on both the old sample and the convict. Note that there is no obvious selection bias here — they looked at every case in this county and filtered based on whether they could do the test, regardless of other evidence for or against the convict.

Making sure each and every guilty scumbag gets exactly what they deserve is hard. And bloody expensive, with some of the cost literally paid in blood, and some in wrongly convicted innocents, and lots of it in taxpayer dollars. Unfortunately, this also tends to push the system towards more harshly punishing the innocent.

Erroneously convicted innocent defendants will get a harsh sentence compared to plea-bargaining guilty defendants. And I would guess that a guilty defendant is more likely to take a plea than an innocent one. Piling on additional penalties for defending yourself tends to lead to injustice. At some point plea bargaining begins to look like a high-stakes game of chance against an opponent with an infinite bankroll.

Sure, you think you have a good hand, but if the cost for folding is 6 months in jail and the cost for losing is a 5 years in prison and a felony conviction, what odds do you need to place on winning to make going to trial a rational choice? Whether or not someone accepts a plea bargain would seem to depend mostly on A: Trial is risky and imposes costs on all parties so the efficient outcome is for everyone to settle before trial to an outcome that makes them better off, on average, than if they went to trial.

Seems to me that alternative bail systems such as DC are just begging for a different sort of abuse. People are very good at pattern matching. And they have more to lose by being in jail. Chicago Community Bond Fund is doing excellent work on this in Chicago. We are close to getting a big bail reform bill passed!

The bondsperson also takes on the cost of evaluating defendants for likelihood of running. Various things might confuse the issue. Population 4A in prison. Someone who is good at math help me my prison population is exploding. That does sound pretty weird to someone from the UK, for whom those words are synonyms. Jails are managed at the local level and mostly used to hold people for minor offenses or while awaiting trial. As I understand it as an American who knows only a little of the criminal justice system: You got into a fight in a bar and the cops showed up and arrested you and took you to jail.

So when you plead guilty and the judge gives you 30 days, you serve your sentence there. By contrast, prison is generally a federal or state level thing, and it involves longer sentences. To elaborate, I believe the original distinction was that jails were for holding on to accused criminals awaiting trial and punishment and prisons were for punishing actual criminals after conviction. As short periods of confinement replaced e.

But this is still a secondary function of jails. To illustrate the issue here: However, the document is more analysis than statistics. First, to get this out of the way, are incarceration statistics comparing apples to apples? One of the things that stood out in the study was the Suspect Rate. The number of suspects is in most countries smaller than the number of recorded crimes, because many crimes are not cleared, i.

To me it feels like that most of the solutions and discussion here seem to have a fundamental assumption that most people who are arrested are not guilty, and are being railroaded by the cops and the justice system. It would be interesting to see a discussion which started from the opposite assumption: A dishonest justice system provides strong incentives to accept an unfair plea deal. A dishonest justice system can also send you to trial and convict you even if you are innocent.

Why would a plea deal be any better? The argument is not that a smaller number of plea deals is evidence for a honest justice system, but that a large number is evidence for a dishonest justice system.

How long would it takes for judges to compensate for the philkrimaic-feeling billionaire by increasing the bails? America is commonly singled out among developed western nations for A having high inequality which might be a dubious claim, but taking it as given and B having high rates of incarceration.

It stands to reason that the more we saddle the poor with jail time, fines, and damaged records, the more difficult it will be for them to get ahead. Yeah, that seems totally plausible too. But part of that story would have to be unusually high crime rates — and those high crime rates would have to be caused by inequality, and not, say, stricter drug laws.

Although the violence is not just an alternative employment strategy, but an alternative status-gaining strategy. Women are still peeling men off the top of the hierarchy, and when nobody in your local hierarchy has access to the wealth-gaining system to show status, violence against people who disrespect you gets you status and therefore access to women. It is a weak argument as you present it, obviously very briefly as if violence against men is status seeking for the purpose of mate selection then you have an issue.

Either violence against women should be anti correlated with the above violence against men, or women must not use violence against them as part of their mate selection. My reply should have had an additional line, that if women are not using violence against them what is the Evopsych reason for it. Langbein argues that the medieval system of tortured confessions was driven in large part by the laws of evidence, which only allowed confession on the testimony of two unimpeachable witnesses, or on confession of the accused.

The necessity of keeping public order quickly led to a formalized structure where the authorities basically tortured confessions as necessary. Unfortunately 1 torture is bad in an of itself and 2 because torture tests the ability to endure pain instead of the quality of the evidence, it subverted the justice system as a tool to dispense justice.

The lack of people looking at non-US bail systems is kind of screwy. Other countries have functioning bail systems, few are as fucked up as the US one.

Take the UK system for example. This means you will be able to go home until your court hearing. This is only put in place if the police think the person is a flight risk etc. And there are other systems which seem pretty functional. Innocence until proven guilty is a really, really important part of the justice system.

Actually judging how much of a flight risk someone is before you demand money should be fucking standard. Seems like a marginal improvement to me — trustworthy individuals who would be a net positive to society are more likely, all else equal, to have friends willing to stand up to them. Trustworthy individuals who would be a net positive to society are more likely, all else equal, to engage in commercial trade of the sort which results in monetary income.

And money is fungible, whereas family ties are vulnerable to random chance. Family ties are not all that random. Trustworthy individuals are likely to be related to other trustworthy individuals, because of genetics. Everybody starts with a family. Almost everybody, even untrustworthy criminal types, in some contexts especially untrustworthy criminal types, starts with a family willing to bail them out of jail or whatever.

Whether your parents e. Unless your name is Bruce Wayne. One easy-to-reach improvement would be to try to shorten the time between arrest and trial. That requires more resources, but probably not enormously more resources. Then not being able to make bail is much less of a big deal. More resources going to processing cases, fewer resources going to maintaining jails. Might end up costing more or less overall. The whole point is that there are other systems.

Kind of like fine repayment? Not turning up to court looks bad, has consequences, etc. The fraction of the reported crimes that is cleared by the police is respectively below 20 and 46 per cent. Which is not the Bronx. I am a criminal prosecutor, but I do not know New York law.

Sometimes state laws are predictable; bail laws and practices vary widely and I may be making inferences that are invalid. I base none of this on any special knowledge I have about Bronx Freedom Fighters. BFF has the bail fund for only misdemeanors. I think BFF is lying to us, and I base that solely on the claims they make.

There are ways to get partway there just by minor lies: If you then compare that to people already charged, you can move the needle. You commit a misdemeanor. Bail gets set at schedule.

The percentage of in-custody misdemeanants in my jurisdiction is very low. Some fraction are held a few days until arraignment, but almost all of them are released at that point.

The other item here is those discussions of people held for a very long time without trial are not exercising their speedy trial rights. In California, you have a right to a misdemeanor trial if in custody within 30 days, and a right to a felony trial in about 75 days. Felonies have two separate steps, totalling about 75 days.

Also, in California, most inmates serve their time in local jails. Simple possession of meth in California with a prior for armed voluntary manslaughter is a misdemeanor. If you have a prior for indecent exposure though, you can go to state prison.

Bail in some states is less regulated than in others. In some states, the bonds company can charge what they want. Those who make higher bails tend to be lower risks to run. When they do run, they get caught more. Anyone have that data? Lawyers and judges are very busy people, so they only carry on trials about 4 or 5 hours per day, and a lot of that is inadmissible to the jury. So, videotape the trial without the jury present, delete all the parts that were ruled inadmissible, and then call the jury in and show the videotape to them in 8 hour a day stretches.

The one jury I served on took two entire work weeks, but if we did it my way, it would have only taken us 13 or 14 people with alternates one week. Btw how much are you reimbursed for being drafted to jury duty? Full-time employers in the States usually cover some jury time, but often not enough for a long trial without dipping into vacation time. It seems fairer to me for the government to pay up, and that seems to have been the original intent. But the pay for jury duty was set at a time when eight bucks a day was a fair salary, and has not been indexed to inflation.

If you make it to actual jury selection and you really want to get out of it, just tell the lawyers that you hate cops and make up a semi-plausible reason for it in case they follow through.

They already did that 40 years ago. I like this idea in principle, but it raises all kinds of questions about who watches the cameramen and the video editors.

I can imagine all kinds of subtle ways to bias the presentation even if all the video is legit and unaltered. Editing is not completely mechanical either — what happens if somebody says something that refers to something that happened in the removed spans, which makes perfect sense to people who were there for the whole thing but is confusing or misleading to those seeing the edited version?

Is the editor sharp enough to snip that out, too, and can that even be done without making the surrounding context incoherent? Then you have to add the problem of how easy it is to make entirely fake video footage. Would bad police departments start to do this, increasing bad convictions?

Would juries be less likely to trust video, increasing bad acquittals? I do sort of like the idea that a hung jury means you could just play the video for another twelve jurors, rather than having a whole new trial. All those issues could be resolved satisfactorily, though. We now have court recorders making a transcript of the trial, and complicated rules for what evidence may be presented to the jury. Making jury duty less of a disruption in your life would probably make it easier to get people for jury duty—there would be less incentive for busy people to try to opt out.

Being able to rewind and replay stuff seems like it would work well for resolving questions about what happened. You could imagine having a process for rerunning a trial by simply choosing a new jury and showing them the footage—this would cost enormously less time and money than rerunning a normal trial.

That leads to lots of nice things like:. Changing the venue of the trial would be enormously less expensive—you could do the trial locally, and then if you needed to do so, you could find a jury somewhere far away. It would make trials actually accessible to the public—instead of having to go to the courthouse on a given day, you could view video of a trial when you wanted to.

You could also randomly sample trial footage to see how judges, prosecutors, etc. Possibly a big late donation received after the tax year ended that they wanted to boast about or something? The letter and Form match up. Also, how much does it cost to jail someone for a day?

And of course, as long as they actually go to court, it seems that they get reimbursed for most of the cost anyway. Btw, are the people who did not pay bail and who were then freed of all charges reimbursed for the time they had to spend in prison?

But it seems germane, if only because it might make it easier to associate it with whatever cofactors might help explain it. I did allude to there being an apparent move away from institutionalization for criminals with mental problems earlier, but again, the history of that is not something I follow. I was half hoping someone else with more familiarity would expand on or refute it.

Scott covered that here: Poor people have a smaller stake in society. They have less to lose fortune, social position, career, rank and may thus be less likely to care about the consequences of their actions — more likely to be violent, to brawl, to commit petty thefts, to commit vandalism, to use drugs, etc..

For well-off people, the incentive for proper behavior is provided by the threat of firing, social ostracism, public opprobrium, bankruptcy, divorce, etc..

This need not work for lower-class people. Thus, they may need a different sort of incentive for proper behavior. Bail reform will almost certainly lead to substantially more petty crime, since poor people will have much less to be afraid of.

And yeah, I agree that this is low-hanging fruit. Along with bail and the drug war, we also should move towards reducing overly long prison sentences for nonviolent property crime, and putting more resources into rehabilitating people and reducing recidivism.

Our whole probation system is kind of a mess too, there are way to many stupid traps built into it that end up in people on probation going back to prison over really minor or pointless issues. I have supported them financially, and expect to in the future. I have not independently verified their numbers, but I can shed some light on the approach I understand them to be taking. Any errors are mine. I encourage you to email me if you want an intro to the Executive Director who could answer a lot more of this a lot better than I can.

This does not include foregone interest for 6-ish months, or the overhead of paying and retrieving the bail. There are other activities as well, they can describe them better than I can.

They have gained some scale and are now bailing out enough that either their numbers will drop precipitously, or the change in outcome will be undeniable. Even a few days in jail awaiting trial can lead to job loss. Obviously a conviction is a serious issue.

The positive effects of avoiding pre-trial detention and resolving the matter without a criminal conviction go far beyond the 15 or however many days out of jail.

The real goal here is not only to pay one bail at a time, but to gather data and experience that helps reform the system. This can happen in small ways, such as concentrated lobbying for something as basic as an ATM in the building seriously, the hurdles to making payment are awful , or larger ways such as providing evidence e. BFF bails out very few people, so it is very easy for them to pick the cherries.

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