The money-bail system was originally created to enable the accused to return to their families and continue working while awaiting trial. Yet today, the inability to pay bail has become the sole reason many individuals remain in jail. To remove this financial burden while ensuring individuals return to court, New York City created an alternative: Supervised Release.
A tool developed specifically for the city analyzes individuals awaiting criminal court arraignment and identifies, based on criminal history, warrant history, and other data, those who have a low or medium risk of reoffending or fleeing before trial. Judges can then choose to release these individuals into the Supervised Release program where they will be monitored in their community using evidence-driven tactics, ranging from text message and phone call reminders in advance of court days to in-person meetings with a social worker. While awaiting trial, released individuals are referred to services that can help prevent future contact with the criminal justice system.