Bail Reform: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver | Transcript

With midterm elections approaching, John Oliver discusses the issue at the core of many republican attack ads: bail reform.
Bail Reform: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Season 9 Episode 27
Aired on October 30, 2022

Main segment: Bail reform in the United States (“Bail II”)
Other segment: October 2022 United Kingdom government crisis and premiership of Rishi Sunak

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♪ ♪

[Cheers and applause]

John: Welcome, welcome, welcome to “Last Week Tonight!” I’m John Oliver. Thanks so much for joining us. It’s been a busy week from massive protests still ongoing in Iran, to the fact tom brady suddenly has one less ring. But we’re going to start in the UK, where there’s been a major change in leadership.

After just 45 days on the job, Liz Truss is out. Her very brief stint at Downing Street chaotic from the start. This meme taking over the internet, the challenge from a tabloid here which will last longer, this head of iceberg lettuce or Liz Truss? There was even a lettuce live stream, and last night it was projected on the walls of parliament the victorious head of lettuce.

John: Pretty good! From the challenge itself, to the phrase “victorious head of lettuce,” to the googly eyes and the adorable blonde bob, every step was well thought out and beautifully executed. Honestly, from one leaf vegetable lover to another? You have my respect. And incredibly, the run-up to all that was even more chaotic. Very basically, Liz Truss’s chancellor was fired, becoming the second-shortest-serving chancellor in British history, after this guy, though at least he had the good excuse of “he died.” Then her home secretary, Suella Braverman, was forced to resign after breaching security procedures by using her personal email to send a government document. Then her own party tore itself apart in a chaotic vote on fracking, prompting one party leader to give an incredible quote, perhaps best delivered by this German news outlet. And if you don’t speak German, don’t worry — they switch to English for the important part.

[Speaking non-English language] I’m fucking furious and I don’t fucking care anymore.

John: Perfect. And so much better with a German accent which makes everything sound a thousand times meaner. If someone said to you “nice outfit,” you’d be delighted. But if they said “nice outfit,” you would kill yourself. At that point, all decorum was basically gone. Perhaps the nadir was after this contentious interview between a reporter at downing street, and MP Steve Baker, one of the last truss supporters. The reporter’s mic was left on after the interview had ended, and you could hear him respond to baker claiming he’d asked a stupid question.

Thanks a lot, Steve. It wasn’t a stupid question, Steve, you know it. I’m very happy to go up against you on truss any day. [Laughs] what a cunt.

John: Now, I know that sounds bad to American ears. But you need to understand — there’s nothing more British than politely thanking someone for a disagreement, then cheerily calling them a cunt. It wasn’t in the U.S. version, but it is how “Paddington 2” ends. So long story short: Truss is out, and this man, Rishi Sunak, is in. And he inherits an even bigger mess than the one Truss did. Because he’s about to make severe cuts to public spending — which will be especially difficult to take coming from him, because he’s incredibly wealthy.

Sunak ranks among the U.K.’s richest and has been labeled out of touch with ordinary voters. This 2001 BBC documentary clip when he was still at university later went viral and it didn’t help.

I have friends who are, you know, working class, but — well, not working class, but I mix and match and then I go to see kids from an inner city state school and tell them, you know, to apply to Oxford.

John: Ah, great strategy. “My elite education has taught me that you’re mere victims of a complex web of systemic inequity, but also… What if you just weren’t?” And it’s not like Sunak’s gotten much better at displaying a common touch since then — he once tried to promote a cut in fuel prices by being photographed filling up a car that, it turned out, wasn’t his. Which, to be fair, I could’ve told you straightaway. That car is a burgundy Kia Rio. The closest Rishi would get to a car like that is to tell it to consider becoming a Rolls Royce. And his tenure as prime minister is already off to a questionable start, given one of his first moves was to re-appoint Suella Braverman as home secretary, despite the fact, remember, she’d been forced out of that job in disgrace just six days previously. And she is a hard-liner, known for both her anti-immigration stances, and statements like this, on UK welfare recipients.

There is still a stubborn core of our population that sees welfare as the go-to option and is not motivated for financial or other reasons to get out there and work. And I think the stick — we’ve got we’ve got lots of carrots, we’ve got lots of carrots to get people into work — but we’ve got to actually add more conditionality to the way we administer welfare and more — a bit more stick to ensure that it actually pays for people to get off welfare.

John: Wow. There’s so much wrong with that, but if you want a portion of the population to believe you respect them, maybe don’t refer to them as horses. And that’s coming from me, someone who, arguably, respects horses too much. I just want to make you feel good. But ultimately, Sunak’s incredibly lucky that he’s following Liz Truss. Because the bar is so low. All he really has to do is not personally throw the economy into a tailspin, and deliver a speech without leaving a weird pause for clapter after saying “pork markets.” But he’s not even off to a good start there, because this was how he ended his first public address.

I will work day-in, day-out, to deliver for the British people. [Laughter]

John: What are you doing? He looks like he was reading a teleprompter that malfunctioned by replacing his speech with the command “have a panic attack, now.” Despite Sunak’s many shortcomings, he’ll probably last longer than Liz Truss. But maybe not much longer. Because the British people are justifiably — to quote my new favorite broadcaster — “fucking furious and they don’t fucking care anymore.” And now this.

* * *

Announcer: and now, unnecessary full disclosure.

Full disclosure, I’m not a finance guy. Haven’t studied it, don’t much understand it.

Full disclosure, I was a very amateur national anthem singer.

Full disclosure, I was a waiter at the olive garden.

Full disclosure, I’ve always wanted a boston whaler.

Full disclosure, I had a qtip in my ear last night.

Full disclosure, the oysters were not from the east river.

Full disclosure, I’m a cookie guy.

Full disclosure, go gaters.

Full disclosure, not the best job I’ve had.

Full disclosure, there’s an action figure of me in my office made out of fondant.

♪ ♪


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John: Moving on. Our main story tonight concerns crime. Batman’s adversary, and also, his kink. You think someone dresses in a rubber suit just to avenge their parents? He’s a furry with a gadget belt. Grow up. With the midterm elections fast approaching, “tough on crime” rhetoric has been a key feature of republican attack ads, often highlighting one policy in particular: bail reform.

Do you feel safe? Mandela Barnes would eliminate cash bail, setting accused criminals free into the community before trial.

Landsman wants to end cash bail, putting dangerous criminals back on the streets.

Beasley supports ending cash bail, letting criminals out of jail.

Using cashless bails and his own lawless policies, he put criminals back on the streets and turned neighborhoods into danger zones.

John: Okay, of course everything seems scarier if you end it with a shot of a body bag. For instance, Doc McStuffins? Not a scary show. But if they did an episode set in the McStuffins morgue, your kid’s going to have nightmares for a while. These attack ads come at a critical juncture for the movement to reduce the use of cash bail. Because since 2011 at least 19 states and dozens of local jurisdictions have adopted bail-reform policies. But many places have recently begun rolling back those reforms because amid the recent spike in certain categories of crime, critics are pointing at bail reform as the major cause of it.

Liberal lawmakers ended the bail for most offenses. They created a revolving door of criminality.

It’s almost impossible to get arrested and then put in jail unless you kill somebody.

It is baffling to me that we have politicians that aren’t supporting policies that are gonna make things better. In fact, they’re doing the opposite, and still supporting bail reform and defunding the police.

There’s a correlation between the bail reform and what’s happening in our city.

It seems so clear that it is, and to destroy the country’s finest police department is a crime, I think, on its own.

John: Wow. I’m honestly surprised anything seems clear to a man with resting concussion face. He looks like he’s studying a full body mirror, desperately trying to find his penis. It’s to the point where any crime mentioned on fox news gets linked to bail reform, whether it’s relevant or not. Even after Nancy Pelosi’s husband was attacked with a hammer on Friday morning — by someone who was not out on bail — they had a republican congressman on to say this.

When you let dangerous criminals out on the streets with bail and not put them in prison, you’re asking for this incident to happen.

John: Now he’s wrong about a few things there — again, the suspect wasn’t out on bail. Also, no one gets bailed out of prison, that’s where convicted people go. And finally, choosing a narrow tie knot when your head’s that big makes it look like a birthday balloon sailing over the Capitol dome. That’s three big mistakes from that very grumpy balloon. But given that you’re hearing misleading attacks like that everywhere right now, there’s a real chance of all the progress we’ve made being undone. So tonight, let’s look at bail reform. And this is actually our second story on bail, we first covered it back in 2015. But maybe you didn’t see that episode because you were too busy watching the 69th annual Tony awards airing the same night where — and this is true — Kristin Chenowth and Alan Cumming opened the show by highlighting one particular celebrity in the audience.

And the producer of Finding Neverland: Harvey Weinstein.

♪ Heeeeere! ♪ [Applause] ♪ smile though your heart is aching ♪ ♪ smile even though it’s breaking ♪ ♪ you’ll find that life is still worthwhile ♪ ♪ if you just count your over a million dollar a week box office receipts for the last three months ♪ ♪ smiiiile! ♪

John: Yeah, my point is, it’s been a minute since then. So if you missed our first story, here’s a brief recap: if you’re arrested, in order to be released awaiting trial, you’re often required to leave a certain amount of money, or “bail,” with the court, as collateral, with the idea that it’ll ensure you return. And there are plenty of issues with this system — starting with the fact that bail hearings can be arbitrary, at best. Because while you might assume a judge would carefully weigh someone’s charges and circumstances to decide whether there’s any reason they shouldn’t be released, the reality can look very different. Take this hearing in Dallas. We’re going to bleep the person’s last name, but I’m going to show you her hearing in its entirety.

Penny [bleep], you’re here on state jail felony, theft with previous conviction, bond is $5000.

John: Yeah, that’s it. I don’t know how long it should take to put a price on someone’s freedom, but it probably shouldn’t fit neatly into an Instagram story. And that’s not an outlier. Overall, it’s common for bail hearings to last only a few minutes, with no defense counsel present. And they can be conducted with incredible pettiness. Just watch this hearing from 2016, in Harris County, Texas, where a woman had been charged with a misdemeanor of possessing less than two ounces of marijuana.

There’s probable cause. Bond is $1000. Are you requesting a court appointed lawyer?

I guess, sure.

Give me a “yes” or “no.”


Give me a “yes” or “no.”


I asked a question that calls for a “yes” or a “no,” I don’t expect anything but a “yes” or a “no.” Not a mm-hmm, maybe so, or a yell, or anything else —

I said “yeah.”

Or something — I heard what you said. Your bond just went up to $2000.

John: Wow. First, fuck off all the way off. Second, “yeah” means yes. It’s not like she gave you a thumbs up and winked. You knew what she meant and you just wanted to be a dick. And if you can’t afford whatever bail a sassy judge felt like dishing out, you might be forced to turn to a bail bondsman. The way their business works is, they’ll post your bail for you, in exchange for a fee that’s normally around ten percent of it — money, by the way, you don’t get back, no matter what the outcome of your case. It’s a lucrative business, which rakes in about “$2 billion dollars” per year, almost none of which goes into their spending on ads like these.

They say I broke the law, police are on my tail. Looks like I’m going to the county jail.

Gotta go, gotta go, call gotta go bail bonds.

Bad boys bail bonds is who I call, their courtesy and service top them all, they worked it all out with a call on the phone and before I even knew it I was free to roam.

Lipstick bail bonds! Kiss jail goodbye!

John: You know, it’s not the direction I would’ve taken for the Barbie movie, but I trust Greta Gerwig’s vision. Although — credit to all three songwriters there — you can find those tracks on “Now that’s what I call songs written by the nephew of a guy who owns a bail bond agency volume 25” but if you can’t afford to pay a bail bondsman to get you out, you are stuck. And many, many people are in that situation, which has led to a truly staggering statistic.

This graph shows local jail inmates in the united states. In the past 20 years, that population has shot way up, and there’s something surprising about that rise. You can see it only if you look at inmates with convictions. Around 1999 that population leveled off, meaning most of the rise came from this group. Non-convicted prisoners. Every day in the u.s. Nearly half a million people sitting in local jails haven’t been convicted of anything.

John: It’s true. In fact, right now, roughly two-thirds of our jail population on any given day are people who haven’t been convicted of a crime. And most of them are there, because they simply couldn’t afford to bail themselves out. Which is terrible. We shouldn’t hold people captive in shitty conditions simply because they can’t buy their way out, that’s what spirit airlines is for. What all this means is that a simple arrest — even for a crime you didn’t commit — can destroy your life. Because even a short amount of time in jail can turn it upside down. And it’s often not a short amount of time. Take Marvin Mayfield. He was arrested for a burglary he insists he didn’t commit, and got stuck in Rikers for nearly a year.

Before you went in, you — you had started a job —

Mm-hm, had a car.

You had secured in a — a place, you had a car.


What happened to all of it?

All of those things, my job, my car, and my place, were all gone after 11 months. I couldn’t hold on to it.

John: Yeah, he was in there for 11 months. And obviously, no job is cool with you just not showing up for eleven months, unless, of course, you’re this lazy bitch. And all this is before you get to the fact that holding someone pretrial can give a prosecutor a huge amount of leverage in obtaining a guilty plea. Again, Marvin Mayfield maintains he was innocent, but he pled guilty anyway, and when you hear him explain why, it makes sense.

After 11 months, they said that if you plead guilty today, you get time served and go home.

So, your option was to stay in and — and fight this case —


Or you can go home today.

Or I can go home today. But another guilty plea, another guilty plea to a felony on my record. The worst and hardest blow of everything was to plead guilty to something I didn’t do just to stop that suffering.

John: And I get that. If I’d been held in Rikers for 11 months with no trial and no end in sight, I’d confess to anything if it meant going home. Lindbergh baby? Snatched it. JFK? Capped him. Zodiac Killer? It me. Just please let me go home. And yes, I can see it, too. There is a resemblance. Except I’m kidding, I look nothing like the Zodiac Killer. And you’ll agree with that if you know what’s good for you. So cash bail is arbitrary, destructive, and basically criminalizes poverty — and that’s without getting into the massive racial disparities involved. And when you take all this together, you can understand why so many jurisdictions passed some form of bail reform over the last few years. And notably, in some places, it was done with bipartisan support in 2014, new jersey passed a bill that’s since cut the number of people in its jails by half, and it was championed by a surprising figure.

No longer must you stay in jail for minor offenses, longer than you would have if you’d actually been convicted of the crime which you’re accused of committing, just because your family doesn’t have $500 to post bail.

John: Yeah, to his credit, Chris Christie supported bail reform. And remember, this is the same Chris Christie who thought it was a good idea to be “pro-traffic jam,” got photographed enjoying a beach that had been closed to the public by a government shutdown, and was the first major republican candidate to endorse this historic whoopsie. The right side of history has to be pretty fucking obvious if even Chris Christie can find it. And yet, in many places, the backlash to these reforms has been swift, and ugly. And it always takes the same form you saw earlier: fearmongering about how reforming cash bail means violent criminals are going to be wantonly set loose on the streets to reoffend. But every part of that is much more complicated than it sounds. For starters, a huge amount of people in jail are stuck there on simple misdemeanors or non-violent charges. And even when it comes to violent felony charges, those happen on a very broad spectrum from murder to simply being involved in a fight. And importantly, being charged with something doesn’t necessarily mean you’re guilty that’s for a trial to decide. Yet, too many people are only too happy to blur the line between “charge” and “conviction.” Earlier this year, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot did exactly that, when criticizing pretrial release programs in cook county, which implemented its bail reforms back in 2017.

The mayor saying judges should not allow people charged with violent crimes to walk free on bail or electronic monitoring, because if they’re charged, they’re guilty.

When those case — charges are brought, these people are guilty. And of course, they’re entitled to a presumption of innocence, of course they’re entitled to their day in court, but residents in our community are also entitled to safety.

John: Wait, hold on. You can’t say someone’s guilty and then say they’re entitled to a presumption of innocence. Those two ideas cannot coexist. You can’t be guilty and innocent at the same time just like you can’t be hungry and full or tall and short or British and happy. It’s one or the other! Believe me! And Illinois’ bail conversation has only gotten more heated, now a statewide law eliminating the use of cash bail is set to take effect in January. Republicans have called it “the purge” law, and have attacked it in some pretty gross ways, including these unusual mailers to voters.

The papers, they’ve been delivered under different names, this one the Chicago City Wire. They all claim to have real data and real news, but it’s also a campaign message, not a real newspaper.

There are two pages of photos of men, mostly black and Latino, who, according to the paper, will be released on bond in DuPage county.

The controversial newspaper-like mailings are from republican strategist Dan Proft who runs the people who play by the rules pac.

John: Wow. First, that is strikingly racist. And second, those mailers were absolute horseshit. They stated the new law “mandates” murder suspects awaiting trial be released from jail, which it doesn’t. They also featured a list of charges that they claimed were “non-detainable.” But the truth is that in Illinois, as in most places that have passed bail reform — for serious and violent crimes, suspects can still be jailed pretrial if they’re considered a public safety risk, or likely to flee. So those claims were basically the most misleading thing to appear in newsprint since the idea that Dagwood could pull blondie. Come on. Look at him, then look at her. There’s no way. She’s a stone cold ten and Dagwood’s not even a catch by “funny pages” standards. She married down. And to see just how successfully bail reform opponents can demagogue this issue, just look here in New York. The big koo-koo city that go honk honk. This state’s bail reform law took effect on new year’s day of 2020, and just eight days later — long before there was any data on its impacts — state legislators were out there trying to get it repealed.

I think people are getting scared, I think people are feeling unsafe and more unsafe as each day goes by.

We’re going to hammer this — I want to be clear — we’re going to hammer this every single day. We’re going to make the point this is what the public cares about.

John: That was just eight days in. So unless a ton of people chose the new year’s resolution “be scared of bail reform,” and they actually stuck with it past January 3rd — two equally unrealistic scenarios — I’m pretty sure Suffolk County Kyle MacLachlan here is hammering away at thin air. And the thing is, violent crime did rise in New York in 2020 — just like it did everywhere else in America, both in places that passed bail reform, and in places that didn’t. And yet, the NYPD relentlessly labeled bail reform the cause. Its then-commissioner, Dermot Shea, repeatedly took to the press to label it a major reason for increases in crime and gun violence. But when the New York post checked those claims, using the NYPD’s own data, they found that in the first six months of 2020, out of 528 shooting incidents, exactly one had been committed by someone released under bail reform. And that wasn’t the only time Shea was misleading. He also went on a local morning show to suggest the suspect in a purse snatching was out on bail.

He has 11 open court cases right now. Think about that.

How is this allowed to — how is this allowed to continue to foster like this?

One side will say as long as he shows up at court then everything is working well and I would — I would say that everything is not working well.

11 Open court cases is something that you don’t want to deal with, someone you wouldn’t want to encounter on the streets.

John: Now that might sound scary. But I’ve got some good news, they found that guy with 11 open cases. It was pretty easy, because it turns out, he was already locked up in Rikers at the time the crime took place. So Shea accused the wrong guy entirely. But I’m sure New York slept much safer knowing that that guy was safely behind the same bars he was already behind before. Just two days after that, Shea had to appear before the state legislature. And interestingly, all the fearmongering and bluster he’d spread on newspapers and tv completely collapsed in a forum where he was expected to answer honestly.

Were there people out who — who, you know, with no bail for example or bail being set and they made bail — I don’t know — and then committed another shooting and were arrested again for basically the same crime?

When you look at who we arrest for crimes, it’s going to be small numbers. When you look at the entirety of how many shooting arrests we make and the percentage, it’s not dramatic.

John: I’m sorry — “the percentage is not dramatic?” You were constantly claiming bail reform was driving up shootings. There are hermits on mountaintops who know exactly two things: all of reality is but the brief dance of light across the water’s surface, and dermot shea says bail reform is responsible for the rise in crime in new york. You’d think he’d be embarrassed by being forced to admit “the percentage is not dramatic.” But just two months later, he was back on tv, saying this.

Is bail reform what’s leading to more shootings —


And more gun possessions happening on the streets —

100%. 100%. There is no doubt.

John: Well, which is it, Dermot? Are the numbers “not dramatic?” Or is bail reform “100 percent” leading to more shootings? Because those things are mutually exclusive. The only place where “not dramatic” and “100%” can exist at the same time is in Kristen Stewart’s whole general vibe. She’s giving it her all. But she’s also giving us nothing. It’s totally amazing. And the problem is, all of this — the exaggerated claims and sensational headlines — have made a real impression on people. Public approval of bail reform in this state has plummeted, and the state legislature has now rolled back portions of the law, twice. And that’s the thing. It’s hard to overcome the emotional impact of the claim that bail reform harms public safety. And I’m not saying that you can’t find isolated instances of individuals who’ve been rearrested for new crimes while out awaiting trial. You can. And anytime someone’s a victim of a crime, that is terrible. But if public safety is genuinely your priority — cash bail has never fundamentally been about that. For all the ads currently claiming that “people charged with violent crimes are now walking the streets” — they always were, as long as they had enough money to make bail. Under too many places’ current systems, a person facing a marijuana misdemeanor who doesn’t have $2,000 is going to get stuck inside jail. But a serial sex offender who makes — hypothetically — a million dollars a week in “finding neverland” receipts gets to stay at home. And when you pull back and look at the overall figures of whether bail reform has any statistically significant link to crime, the answer — so far — has been pretty conclusively “no.” One analysis looked at studies in seven different jurisdictions, and none of them found that bail reforms lead to a meaningful increase in crime. And research suggests bail reform can actually make people less likely to re-offend — which makes sense. If you don’t upend people’s lives by needlessly throwing them in jail pre-trial, they’re in a much better position to stay out of trouble. In harris county, texas — the place you saw that dickish judge earlier — researchers found that, after they drastically reduced cash bail in their misdemeanor courts, there was actually a 6% “decrease” in new prosecutions of people over the three years following their arrest. So it’s better for everybody. But I get that those stats don’t sound nearly as flashy over footage of a crime scene. You can’t make a campaign ad that looks like this.

Do you feel safe? You should. Study after study shows bail reform does not impact rising crime, and in fact can even go so far as to reduce recidivism. And this dead body? It’s just 70 pounds of ham in the shape of man.

John: Yeah, it’s honest, but it doesn’t pack quite the same punch. And for all the fears of letting someone who’s a danger onto the streets — again, bail reform doesn’t take away judges’ ability to detain someone they believe to be a genuine threat. In 49 states, all except New York, judges are allowed to consider both risk of failure to appear and public safety in pretrial decisions. And even in New York, it was generally accepted judges did it anyway, as “potential dangerousness” has been the de facto use of bail here for decades. And reasonable people can disagree on how exactly to make those determinations. One place that some experts point to as a model is new jersey, whose system now looks like this.

Judge Sybil Elias is weighing whether to free or detain a man who appears from the county jail by closed-circuit. Notice there is no mention of money for bail because the new system eliminates that. Instead, it uses information such as convictions, not arrests, not socio-economic factors, punched into a computer. The trial court administrator will give each defendant a score of 1 to 6 for risk of reoffending and risk of skipping court. Even if a defendant has a high score, prosecutors must ask for a detention hearing within three to five days, and must present clear and convincing evidence to detain someone.

John: Yeah, that seems pretty good right? Although it’s by no means perfect. For one, assigning people a “crime score” sounds like something Robocop does right before he punches you out a window. And it’s worth noting, computer algorithms are not immune to bias themselves. One such system in Broward County, Florida, “was particularly likely to falsely flag black defendants as future criminals, wrongly labeling them at almost twice the rate as white defendants.” It was basically a racist computer. Which I realize is probably Elon Musk’s next billion-dollar idea. And new jersey’s approach isn’t the only one that can work. Bail reform has looked different in Harris County, for example, has had similar success without any kind of computer scoring, as any kind of computer scoring, as has New York. The point is, if we wanted to, there are multiple ways to design a system that truly prioritizes “public safety.” But if you count the accused as part of the public, which you really should, we should be considering their safety, too. Because terrible things happen when you’re locked up pre-trial. And it’s not just that you can lose your job and your home. You can lose your life. An investigation of over 500 u-s jails found that between 2008 and 2019, they saw over 7,500 inmate deaths — and of those people, nearly 5,000 were never convicted of the charges on which they were being held. Here in new york, at rikers, where most people are held pre-trial, 17 people have died this year, so far. And I know this conversation gets heated. But it’s important to remember why bail reform was important to begin with. And in thinking about this story, I’d like to share something that’s stuck with me. When we did our bail segment seven years ago, right until the last minute, we were going to include a clip of kalief browder. If you’re not familiar with his story, at 16, he was wrongly arrested for stealing a backpack. This was the clip we were going to use.

The guy comes out of nowhere, says I robbed him. And the next thing I know they’re putting the cuffs on me. I don’t even know this dude.

Browder’s family couldn’t make the $10,000 bail on the robbery charges. Months turned into years. He tried to commit suicide several times. In june he was suddenly freed with no explanation.

No apology, no nothing. They just said ‘oh, case dismissed. Don’t worry about nothing.’ Like, what do you mean don’t worry about nothing. Y’all just took over 3 years of my life. I didn’t get to go to prom, graduation, nothing. It was missed years, I’m never gonna get those years back. Never. Never.

John: Now, we pulled that clip out just before taping, when we found out he’d killed himself the night before. His death isn’t even included in any of the tallies of people who were killed by Rikers, despite the fact it sure feels like it should be. The collateral damage of locking so many people up pre-trial is enormous. To defend this system is to defend a people-wrecking machine. So, where do we go from here? Well, if we’re not careful we’re going to go backwards. Which would be a huge mistake. And I’d argue any future system should be built on a few basic principles. First, for someone charged with a low-level offense, we should prioritize letting them remain free pretrial, instead of defaulting to keeping them in jail. Second, whenever any bail hearings do happen, they should be longer than ten seconds. I can’t fucking believe that has to be said out loud. Also, people should have counsel with them at bail hearings. I can’t believe that has to be said either. And finally, if someone is detained, we should be expediting their trial, so they’re not waiting years for a court date. And I’m not saying reform is easy or simple. There are going to be disagreements even among advocates about best practices here. But right now we can’t even have those important conversations because all the air in the room is being taken up by bullshit fearmongering ads, fake newspapers, and confidently-delivered lies from men in uniform. And look, even after convictions, we’re clearly locking far too many people up in this country. But to do it before they’ve even been convicted of anything is proof that civil liberties only apply tangibly to the privileged — for everyone else, they’re entirely theoretical. And anyone even trying to defend a system like that is basically morally bankrupt. Isn’t that right, dermot?

100%. 100%. There is no doubt.

John: For once, Dermot, I can’t argue with you there! And now this.

* * *

Announcer: And now, unnecessary full disclosure: all Tamron hall edition.

Full disclosure my dad was 25 years older than my mom. And growing up people would think he was my grandad. Full disclosure, I cannot stand pushups. Full disclosure, I do dye my hair and I’ll dye it tonight. Full disclosure, my name is tamron and I suffer from really dry feet. Full disclosure, we eat two burgers a week. Full disclosure, I drink wine, champagne, and vodka. Full disclosure, I do not have a secret talent. Full disclosure, I don’t know how comfortable I am talking about sex on tv. Full disclosure, I have a peloton. Full disclosure, I have a tattoo. Full disclosure, I know nothing that is happening in this show!

♪ ♪

John: That’s our show! Thanks so much for watching! We’ll see you next week! Good night!

♪ ♪

[Cheers and applause]

I will work day-in, day-out, to deliver for the British people.


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