Pedro Hernandez Speaks Out Against Bail System
Hernandez, then 16, spent a year at Rikers Island because he couldn’t afford bail.
At 16, Pedro Hernandez was wrongfully accused of a crime but instead of going home to await his court date and prepare his case, he ended up behind bars in New York’s notorious Rikers Island jail. The judge had set his bail to $250,000, more than he would ever be able to afford, and that decision kept Pedro locked up for over a year, even though he hadn’t been convicted of any charges.
Nationally, there are an estimated 465,000 people sitting in jail, awaiting trial, because they can’t afford to bail themselves out, leading them to lose their jobs, face eviction, fall behind in school or leave loved ones without parents or caregivers.
It wasn’t until RFK Human Rights intervened and paid his cash bail that Pedro was finally freed. In his first interview after being released from Rikers, Pedro calls attention to his wrongful imprisonment and to the disproportionate toll incarceration has on non-white communities.
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