What Happens to Inmates in New York Who Cannot Post Bail?

In New York City, the Vernon C. Bain Center is a holding facility for individuals who have been accused of committing a crime and placed there until their first date in court. However, this holding facility is very unique in that it is considered a floating jail located in the Bronx. For most people in New York, including lawyers, judges, and inmates, this facility has been given the nickname "The Boat." It was given this name to represent the fact that it is a floating facility that has been docked on the East River.

The Problem Facing Inmates

The most interesting feature about "The Boat" is that it serves as home to thousands of inmates who have been charged with a crime, but they have also been granted bail. The problem is that these individuals cannot afford to post the cash deposit required to get them out of this facility. Adding to this issue is the fact that there are bondsmen who have offered assistance in posting this money, but they also charge a high fee that the inmates cannot afford. In specific, a bail bondsman in New York will charge a minimum non-refundable amount of $400 USD to post bail on behalf of an inmate.

Options for Inmates in New York

Those who have been placed in "The Boat" and cannot afford to post bail will have two options. The first option involves fighting the case from the holding facility and waiting for the judge to appoint a trial date. In contrast, the second option is to plead guilty to the charges in questions and take the sentence that is offered by prosecutors. However, the main issue here is that some of these individuals facing charges are not guilty of the crimes in questions. However, these individuals are limited in their choices and must be held by state authorities in either situation.

The Internal Debate for Inmates

New York inmates are faced with an internal debate on a daily basis, which involves deciding whether they should wait for their trial or plead guilty to potentially untrue charges. The latter causes the most concern for inmates as pleading guilty would result in having a criminal record, which would significantly hurt their chances of re-entering society, finding employment, and being trusted by professionals in the business world. Despite these consequences, most inmates are willing to plead guilty just so that they can get out of "The Boat" and back to real life sooner than later. That said, these individuals are also likely to receive (and accept) harsh punishments because they simply want to return home as soon as possible. Although this seems unfair to inmates, it is a common scenario for those who are being held in "The Boat." Thus, inmates who cannot post bail end up facing the tough choice of fighting for their innocence and being held for an extended period or accepting defeat and incurring a criminal record. In either case, these New York inmates will lose out.

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