Every day, nearly half a million people await trial in a jail cell because they can’t afford to pay bail. It’s the result of a system that favors the rich while punishing the poor.

“To the extent that there’s bad guys here, it’s judges and prosecutors who use bail to coerce people to plead guilty” because they have to go to work or take care of family, says John Raphling, a senior researcher on criminal justice at Human Rights Watch,“There are so many reasons why people would take the short-term deal of getting out of custody, even though in the long term it gives them a criminal record.”