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A "Game" About Bail Teaches You About the Horrors of Bail
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A "Game" About Bail Teaches You About the Horrors of Bail

Patrick Lucas Austin, Gawker Media

Image credit: Brave New Films

Bail, either in the form of money or property, is used to ensure the suspect of a crime returns for their day in court. You may not think simply paying bail is a life-changing incident, but according to a mini game made by documentary film organization Brave New Films , paying (or not paying) bail can significantly impact a person's life, and not for the better.

Brave New Films' game, The Bail Trap , is stylized as an 8-bit, choose your own adventure game. It highlights the unseen consequences of paying bail by presenting three characters with varying amounts of cash savings. All characters are affected differently by the current bail system, and each storyline highlights the impact it has on both the individuals in jail, as well as their families. One character, an IT manager, has a savings account of $400,000 and a bail amount of $100,000 (returned to him after his case is dismissed) that makes his adventure a short and simple one, while another, Julio, only has $40, forcing him to remain incarcerated, lose his job, and eventually sign a plea deal adding a felony to his record, which restricts his ability to vote , among other lost rights.

The consequences of not having bail money, as you can surmise, are pretty horrible. For one, nearly 90% of defendants with a bail of $1,000 or less could not pay, according to the non-profit organization Human Rights Watch . That means they remained in detention until their trial date. Those who remained were up to three times as likely to return to jail due to the loss of jobs, homes, and separation from their families. In addition, Black and Latino suspects are more likely to have higher bail amounts, though are less likely to have the ability to pay said amount.

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Want to help reform the current bail system? Brave New Films has partnered with Bail Reform California , an organization seeking to reform the bail laws in the state of California. You can sign up for their newsletter, or donate to organizations like the ACLU who are are aware of the problems and seeking to pass legislation addressing both racial and economic differences when it comes to those affected by the bail process.

The Bail Trap Game | Brave New Films

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