Despite the contagious virus taking root inside the jail, judges continue to set bail amounts that are out of reach for some people. Government agencies lean on a set of narrow parameters when deciding who gets set free. The pandemic is also leading to delayed court hearings for some people, resulting in extended stays behind bars where they risk infection.
The result: Hundreds of people stuck in a cramped jail as a dangerous, contagious virus spreads, infects and, in some cases, kills. Many inmates and their families are turning to bail funds for a shot at getting out of confinement.