ITHACA, N.Y. — If you pay attention to the crime coverage in The Ithaca Voice, you’ll see one thing that seems to inexplicably vary from person to person: bail.

Readers sometimes notice when two people are charged with the exact same crime but are given different bail arrangements. One person, for instance, could be released on their own recognizance and told to return to court on a certain date, while another person isn’t granted bail at all. Commenters online heatedly question why some people charged with serious violent crimes are sometimes given bail at all.

Why the discrepancy? How is bail decided?

In the video, Lance Salisbury, supervising attorney of the county’s Assigned Counsel Office,  breaks down the basics of what bail is and what the deciding factors are when a judge sets bail:

Video by Jacob Mroczek/The Ithaca Voice

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.