When Celebrities Do The Weather, It’s Breezy With A Chance Of Hilarity

Going on a news show to promote a new project is a normal part of a celebrity?s life.

Usually, these appearances just involve the anchors asking the standard questions about the famous person?s latest project.

Sometimes, though, the famous folk get asked to do the weather ? and that?s when the craziness really begins.

The video above shows what happens when people like Katy Perry, Ellen DeGeneres and Steve Carell step out of their comfort zone and do the weather. 

Kevin Hart shows one weather woman the importance of doing squats.

Tom Hanks seems more interested in dancing with the weather woman than talking about storm fronts.

Katy Perry isn?t quite able to master looking at the weather map and the camera at the same time.

Ellen DeGeneres just turns the thing into a bizarre interpretive dance.

Let the laughter rain down.

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Scottish Ballet’s New Take On A Streetcar Named Desire

Like a moth to the flame, Blanche DuBois, opens the show as a curious creature drawn to a single light bulb; a stunning piece of imagery for a stunning ballet. ?This vibrant adaptation by Scottish Ballet of the classic Tennessee Williams tale, A Streetcar Named Desire, brings the heat and music of New Orleans straight to The Music Center. The definitive Pulitzer Prize-winning drama is transformed into a powerful and emotional ballet that not only excites, but further enhances the story?s suspenseful take on lust, desire and betrayal that can only be conveyed by the honesty of dance.  In collaboration with director Nancy Meckler and choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, the production explores the boundaries of narrative ballet through a range of dance styles. Accompanied by a specially commissioned jazz-inspired score by Peter Salem that accentuates the sensuality of the dancers, Scottish Ballet?s  A Streetcar Named Desire is a one-of-a-kind take on an American classic.?

In this beautiful and dynamic production, Scottish Ballet pushes the limits and takes audiences on an emotional and chilling journey through the life of Blanche DuBois. ?Our storytelling, unlike Williams’ play, begins by relating the story of Blanche DuBois while she is growing up in America?s Deep South. The year is 1935, and the lifestyle of the landed gentry is in steep decline. Blanche is a beautiful young girl with her life ahead of her?. Her life drifts in and out of ecstasy and turmoil. Finding out that her husband had been having an affair with another man resulting in him committing suicide and leaving home after the death of most of her family traveling to the sex-crazed; jazz filled streets of New Orleans night life scene. After being run out of town for seducing a young boy, she finds comfort in her only living relative, Stella who has taken up with Stanley Kowalski, an aggressive bad boy we know so well because of Marlon Brando.

The dancers of this company are stellar performers. According to an interview with Neckler Meckler, the dancers also went through some acting training to give voice the characters of Tennessee William?s play without words. It is truly a company of beautiful dancers that are quite focused and passionate about their art and conveying a story. Eve Mutso(Blanche) and Sophie Laplane(Stella) stole the show with pure energy and heart-wrenching performances.

?Scottish Ballet is Scotland?s national dance company. The esteemed company has built its reputation on strong bold work and vast touring. It regularly presents at premier theatres and events such as Sadler?s Wells and Edinburgh International Festival, as well as leading venues and festivals abroad including Europe, Asia and North America. Scottish Ballet continues to build on its heritage as a bold, adventurous company with ambitious creative programmes and touring, working with groundbreaking choreographers such as Ivgi & Greben, Bryan Arias, David Dawson and Crystal Pite.?

Make sure to check out The Music Center website for upcoming performances!

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Black Farmer Calls Out Liberal Racism In Powerful Facebook Message

A black farmer has the internet talking after posting a powerful message on social media about race relations in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Chris Newman, owner of the Sylvanaqua Farms in Albemarle County, shared his thoughts on a recent ?Love Trumps Hate? counter-protest on Saturday. The rally was held in response to white supremacist Richard Spencer leading a protest against the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. 

?I?d like to appreciate [the Love Trumps Hate rally],? Newman wrote in a Facebook post published on May 17. ?But frankly I just don?t.?

Newman went on to call out the subtle racism of his neighbors, who purport to be progressive and inclusive but have yet to acknowledge the fact that Charlottesville is, by his estimation, ?the most aggressively segregated place? he?s ever lived in.

The farmer recounted that he?s been racially profiled and questioned by police several times after receiving ?strange looks from a passerby.?

?It isn?t Richard Spencer calling the cops on me for farming while Black,? Newman wrote. ?It?s nervous White women in yoga pants with ?I?m with her? and ?Coexist? stickers on their German SUVs.?  

The farmer went on to suggest that residents of the town who are interested in racial progress should consider how to effect change in their own everyday lives. 

?People are so busy going after that easy fix, going after that Confederate flag, that they?re not doing the hard thing, which is thinking, how did we get here, and how the hell do we dig out of institutional racism,? Newman wrote. 

As of Wednesday, Newman?s post has received over 5,000 shares and hundreds of comments from people chiming in with their own thoughts on race in Charlottesville.  

In an interview with CBS affiliate Newsplex on Wednesday, Newman said that the racial profiling he receives has gotten so bad that he has stopped doing food deliveries from his farm to wealthier neighborhoods in the area. He told the station that the fact he experiences racism on a day-to-day basis is the main reason he made the Facebook post.

?The thing that bothered me wasn?t so much the protests themselves, but the back-patting after it,? Newman said. ?There?s a difference between confronting racists and confronting racism.? 

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The Pope Just Joked About Donald Trump Eating Lots Of Potica, A Nut-Filled Cake From Slovenia

President Donald Trump met with Pope Francis on Wednesday, and somehow the pope ended up suggesting Trump is filled with nuts.

During some friendly banter, Pope Francis reportedly asked first lady Melania Trump what she feeds the 6?2? president.

?What do you give him to eat, potica?? he said, referring to a dessert from her native Slovenia. (Pronounced po-TEET-za, it was initially reported that he said ?pizza.?)

Melania laughed in response, but if Trump had any idea what potica is, he may not have been too happy about the quip. The pope was essentially saying it looks like Trump eats a lot of cake.

Pope Francis clearly knows his way around the world of pastries, because his joke to the Slovenian-born first lady was about a Slovenian pastry. Potica is a swirled cake that?s made with a yeasted dough and stuffed with numerous fillings, the most common of which is a mixture of nuts, butter, honey and sugar. It?s typically reserved for the most festive occasions, so it?s not your typical pain quotidien of the people.

To summarize, the pope suggested that Trump looks like he?s filled with yeast, milk, butter, eggs and lots of nuts. He may not be too far off.

If you want to make it yourself, we recommend baking legend Joan Nathan?s potica recipe from the New York Times. In the meantime, take some inspiration from the beautiful poticas made by Instagrammers around the world.

Sweet moments#sweetlife#holidaytime#potica#

A post shared by Martina Razinger (@martinarazinger) on

#otok #potica #bled #kava :)

A post shared by Ne?a Sitar (@neza.sitar) on

Good to have #slovenian friend #potica #yum #authentic #slovinia #bread #?????

A post shared by Sayaka Takahara ? ?? ?? (@saya_realtor) on

?? mom's potica. #easterisnotover #potica #wallnutsforever

A post shared by Urska KraKra (@urskakragelj) on

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Survey Finds 8 In 10 People See Climate Change As ‘Catastrophic Risk’

By Laurie Goering

LONDON, May 24 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Nearly nine in 10 people say they are ready to make changes to their standard of living if it would prevent future climate catastrophe, a survey on global threats found Wednesday.

The survey of more than 8,000 people in eight countries ? the United States, China, India, Britain, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Germany ? found that 84 percent of people now consider climate change a ?global catastrophic risk?.

That puts worry about climate change only slightly behind fears about large-scale environmental damage and the threat of politically motivated violence escalating into war, according to the Global Challenges Foundation, which commissioned the Global Catastrophic Risks 2017 report.

But it indicates that many people now see climate change as a bigger threat than other traditional or rising concerns such as epidemics, population growth, use of weapons of mass destruction and the rise of artificial intelligence threats.

On climate and environmental issues, ?there?s certainly a huge gap between what people expect from politicians and what politicians are doing. It?s stunning,? said Mats Andersson, vice chairman of the Stockholm-based foundation, in a telephone interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The survey, released in advance of this week?s G7 summit of advanced economies in Italy, also found that 85 percent of people think the United Nations needs reforms to be better equipped to address global threats.

About 70 percent of those surveyed said they think it may be time to create a new global organization ? with power to enforce its decisions ? specifically designed to deal with a wide range of global risks. Nearly 60 percent said they would be prepared to have their country give up some level of sovereignty to make that happen.

?Whether it?s the specter of nuclear conflict over North Korea or the planet tipping into catastrophic climate change, the need for effective global cooperation has never been greater,? Andersson said.

The Global Challenges Foundation, created in 2012 by a Swedish risk specialist and philanthropist, looks for more effective solutions to cross-border problems and ways to resolve the mismatch between long-term problems and short-term political and market focuses.



Following the G7 meeting, U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to make a decision about whether to pull the United States out of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, aimed at keeping global temperature increases to relatively safe levels.

But the Global Challenges Foundation found that 84 percent of the Americans it surveyed would be prepared to make changes in their current living standards if it would prevent future climatecatastrophes, such as irreversible melting of Arctic and Greenland ice, with accompanying large-scale sea level rise.

Nearly two in three Americans also agreed with the statement that ?a single individual can negatively impact global cooperation on risks?. Respondents in other parts of the world ? apart from South Africa ? were less likely to agree.

That environmental issues and climate change now rank near the top of global worries about catastrophic threats for many people suggests ?something has shifted in the past couple of years?, Andersson said. ?I really hope that political leaders will realize the mandate they seem to have to act.?

The report looked at a wide range of potential global catastrophes, from use of nuclear weapons to ecological collapse, asteroid impacts and the potential attempts to manipulate the world?s atmosphere and biological systems to deal with runaway climate change, in a process known as geoengineering.

Geoengineering is dangerous, the report noted, because ?its deployment could have dramatic impacts on climate stability?, because one country or individual could unilaterally attempt it, and because ?there are currently no governance frameworks to manage the risks?. (Reporting by Laurie Goering @lauriegoering; editing by Alex Whiting:; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women?s rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit http://news.trust.org/climate)

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Greenpeace Shines Message For Trump On Vatican Before His Visit With The Pope

The dome of St. Peter?s Basilica was cast in a remonstration early Wednesday aimed at President Donald Trump just hours before his visit to the Vatican.

Greenpeace?s Italian and German offices teamed up to project a message in lights on the Vatican to criticize the president?s recent actions ignoring climate change and his expected decision regarding U.S. involvement in the landmark Paris climate agreement. A message reading ?Planet Earth first,? a play on Trump?s ?America first? foreign policy slogan, was shown on the iconic basilica.

?Climate change is the ultimate threat of our generation, and real world leaders are taking action now to safeguard our people,? Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace International?s executive director, said in a statement. ?Ahead of his meeting with the Pope, we delivered to Trump a message that his first priority must be to people and planet, not the profits of polluters. Trump cannot stop the clean energy transition and should instead focus on accelerating it.?

Trump is expected to meet with Pope Francis inside the Vatican on Wednesday as part of his first foreign trip as president. The pope has long called for international action on climate change, saying the phenomenon is ?a global problem with grave implications? and one of the ?principal challenges facing humanity.? He has urged world leaders to remain in the Paris climate deal, even as Trump has threatened to leave the agreement.

The White House has done little to assuage the fears of environmentalists since Trump took office. In the administration?s first 100 days, officials proposed slashing the Environmental Protection Agency?s budget, scrapped clean air and water regulations and moved to weaken many Obama-era climate regulations.

International leaders and even officials within Trump?s Cabinet have urged the president to remain in the Paris Accord. Even Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former chairman of Exxon Mobil, has advised the president to remain in the deal, according to reports from The New York Times.

It?s still unclear what Trump will decide, and meetings have been continually postponed in recent months. However, some have remained optimistic that the president will remain in the pact as the rest of the world moves forward on the issue.

?If Trump decides to abandon the Paris deal, he will not only harm the planet but also his own country,? Andree Boehling, an energy expert at Greenpeace Germany, said in a statement. ?It would be ecologically and economically foolish to try and slow down the clean energy transition. People across the world are demanding action and it?s time to deliver.?

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Boy Comes Home From School And Finds Dad Has Been Deported

Joel Massie came home from school last week only to realize something was different. His father was no longer around.

Arino Massie, of Metuchen, New Jersey, was deported back to his native country of Indonesia, a place he fled 16 years ago because of religious persecution.

Now Joel is going to grow up without a father in the U.S., where he was born. He still finds it hard to accept this.

?He?s been with me for 13 years, because I was born with him, of course. And for those 13 years, he?s been kind, happy and loving,? Joel told WPIX TV. ?It?s been sad, stressing. We?ve been fighting for the past week and a half to stay.?

Arino Massie is a Chinese Christian who lived in Indonesia, but missed a deadline to apply for amnesty shortly after his arrival in the U.S.

After he overstayed his tourist visa, Massie was ordered to leave the country in 2006. However, the Reformed Church of Highland Park struck a deal with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to allow him three other Indonesian-born Christians stays of removal if they checked in with ICE every year. 

But this year ICE took the men into custody, and on May 18 an immigration judge ordered that Massie and the others be deported, according to News12.com. 

A spokesperson for ICE released this statement:

Arino Massie, who was a visa overstay, was ordered removed on July 17, 2006 by an immigration judge with the Department of Justice?s Executive Office of Immigration Review. After exhausting all legal remedies, on May 18, 2017, ICE Enforcement and Removal Officers removed Arino Massie to Indonesia.

Frederick Rattu, a friend of Massie?s who came to the U.S. from Indonesia in 1994 with a tourist visa and became a legal resident a few years later, worries about what might happen to Massie when he to Indonesia.

?Can you imagine someone applying for asylum and then going back to Indonesia? How are they going to treat him,? Rattu told USA Today.

The newspaper notes that Massie is one of 41,000 suspected undocumented immigrants who were arrested during President Donald Trump?s first 100 days. That?s a 40 percent increase from the same period last year.

The Trump administration has broadened the scope of those subject to deportation to include people such as Massie, who don?t have criminal records.

That?s a misuse of resources, according to Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale, of the Reformed Church of Highland Park.

?There?s no reason to send him away right now; he?s absolutely not a criminal. These are family people who happen to have final deportation orders,? Kaper-Dale told the Associated Press. ?Our folks got caught up in that new dragnet.?

An immigration attorney is arguing to legal authorities that Massie needs to come back to America to be with his son, Joel.

He may have a harder time explaining what?s happening to Joel.

?What I don?t understand is why he?s being deported,? Joel told News12.com. ?He?s been cooperative. He hasn?t done anything against the law. He has a clear record.? 

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Seth Meyers Trolls Trump Over Middle East Trip Flubs

President Donald Trump has been out of the country for only a few days, but ?Late Night? host Seth Meyers is already feeling the difference.

?It?s like when you were in school and your bully was out with the flu,? Meyers joked before launching into a recap of the president?s stumbles throughout his trip to the Middle East

In addition to ridiculing Trump over the fact that first lady Melania Trump publicly swatted away his hand, Meyers played a clip of the president telling the press that he ?just got back from the Middle East? while sitting next to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel. 

?No wonder he thought Middle East peace was so easy. He wasn?t accounting for Israel,? Meyers said. ?What does he think the Middle East is?? Meyers then mockingly imitated Trump saying, ?I had a great weekend. We achieved peace between the Saudis and the Arabians.?

Watch the clip in the video above.

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‘Women Photograph’ Honors The Female Photojournalists Documenting Our World

Photojournalism is far removed from its glory days ? the so-called Golden Age of the 1930s to 1960s ? when photographers toted Leicas and experimented with the first flash bulbs. Back then, behemoths like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa and other founding members of Magnum Photos dominated the field, delivering onto the public historic images of military events, far-away countries, and images of the world people would otherwise never see.

Decades later, after magazines began to decline in popularity, so too did the prestige of photojournalism. Nonetheless, those left on the front lines of professional photojournalism are still responsible for capturing some of the world?s most captivating images. Take, for example, Associated Press photographer Burhan Ozbilici?s photo snapped seconds after the assassination of Russia?s ambassador to Turkey

?Photojournalism is responsible for dictating how the general public sees the rest of the world,? documentary photographer Daniella Zalcman told HuffPost. ?The photos in our newspapers and magazines expose people to issues and places and individuals they?ll likely never interact with personally.?

However, much like the early days of Cartier-Bresson, Capa and co., another aspect of the photojournalism scene has persisted: The majority of our chief storytellers are also still white men, Zalcman explained.

According to The New York Times, women have consistently accounted for only 15 percent of the entries to the prestigious World Press Photo awards in the last five years. Furthermore, around 80 to 100 percent of the images contained in publications? roundups of most significant photos in 2016 belonged to male names. Incredible (and mostly white) female figures like Margaret Bourke-White, Dorothea Lange and Inge Morath managed to overcome the stale assumptions of their time ? that women couldn?t handle the necessary equipment or fend for themselves in conflict-ridden areas. Yet their success stories can register as outliers today.

Women in the 21st century aren?t getting the most valuable assignments from wire services, newspapers or magazines, Zalcman told the Times, suggesting that gender disparities in the industry are alive and well. She cited a few obstacles contemporary women photojournalists face in particular, such as biased hiring practices, a gender-based confidence gap, the difficulties of balancing personal lives with careers, and sexual harassment in the field. 

In an attempt to help women overcome these obstacles ? and educate publications unaware of the many, many female photojournalists available for hire ? Zalcman founded Women Photograph, a database promoting 400 women photojournalists from 67 countries across the globe. Described as ?a resource for female* documentary and editorial photographers and the people who would like to hire them,? the site links directly to the portfolios of women from Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Cameroon, Chile, Russia, Canada and beyond. It also provides resources and grant information to aspiring photographers who might frequent the page.

(The asterisk denotes that ?gender nonconforming, transgender, and genderqueer friends are all welcome? on the site.)

?We can?t just look at war and politics and human rights stories through the eyes of men,? Zalcman told HuffPost. ?If we want to be responsible storytellers, our community needs to be as diverse as the voices it represents.? 

Zalcman is aware that a mere list of female photojournalists won?t erase the gender-based obstacles women encounter in their line of work. But ?Women Photograph? is a succinct retort to any editor who claims not to know any women in the business. 

Below is a preview of some of the photojournalists on display at ?Women Photograph.? To see more photojournalism from women today, head to the database here

All captions were provided by ?Women Photograph.?

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Erdogan Reasserts Power Over AK Party Weeks After Controversial Referendum

ANKARA, May 21 (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan pledged to fight Turkey?s enemies at home and abroad on Sunday as he was elected leader of the ruling AK Party, a move enabling him to reassert his grip on the party and its legislative work.

Erdogan, who founded the Islamist-rooted AKP in 2001 and led it to victory in a general election a year later, had to give up its leadership nearly three years ago when he was elected president, a position traditionally above party politics.

That changed with April?s referendum in which Turks narrowly backed constitutional changes creating an executive presidency with sweeping new powers. Allowing the head of state to be a party member or leader was among the reforms.

Erdogan?s renewed control of the party, which came in a near unanimous vote at an AKP congress where he faced no opposition, coincides with growing foreign policy challenges and tensions with NATO allies.

?Rather than facing our people with our heads down tomorrow, we prefer to stand tall today against the scum at home and abroad,? he told thousands of cheering supporters in the Ankara sports arena.

?The months ahead will be a leap forward for Turkey, from its fight against terrorism to the economy, from the broadening of rights and freedoms to investments,? he said in a brief speech after the vote.

Erdogan vowed to keep Turkey?s state of emergency until peace is achieved against Kurdish and Islamist insurgents.

He became the first president to lead a party since 1950, taking back the AKP reins from Binali Yildirim, who remains prime minister until elections set for 2019.

Such sweeping political changes, he says, are vital to ensure stability in the face of militant threats and after an attempted coup last year that Ankara attributed to supporters of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

On the eve of the congress, police killed two suspected Islamic State militants during a raid on an apartment in Ankara, state-run Anadolu news agency reported. The two men killed were believed to be planning an attack, it said.

Opposition parties, which want the referendum annulled because of alleged irregularities, say the reforms push Turkey toward one-man rule. Some of its NATO allies and the European Union, which it aspires to join, have also expressed concern.



Last week, Erdogan met U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington and sought to reconcile deep disagreement over U.S. support for a Syrian Kurdish militia that Ankara regards as a terrorist group.

Ties with European Union countries soured in the build-up to the April referendum. Tensions with Germany have been additionally exacerbated by a dispute over the stationing of German troops at Turkey?s Incirlik air base.

Erdogan kept up his fierce criticism of the bloc on Sunday.

?We don?t have to put up with the European Union?s double standards anymore,? he said, demanding the EU keep its word on visa-free travel for Turks, aid for migrants and progress in accession talks if it wants relations to improve.

As party leader once again, Erdogan is expected to streamline his economic team to try to speed up decisions and reassure markets that ministers are working to the same plan, sources said.

In a speech lasting an hour and 45 minutes before the vote, he said he wanted a ?serious renewal? of the party by year-end. Nineteen of the AKP?s 50-member executive board were changed on Sunday.

Once regarded as one of the world?s most promising emerging markets, Turkey has been hit by a sell-off of the lira on concerns about the erosion of institutions and the slow implementation of promised change.

Erdogan rejoined the AKP this month, implementing the first of 18 constitutional amendments bolstering his powers. In a second step, lawmakers elected seven members to a reshaped judicial authority on Wednesday.

The other amendments, giving the president authority to draft the budget, declare a state of emergency and issue decrees, will not take effect until after elections scheduled for November 2019.

(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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NYC Spends $116 Million A Year Jailing People Who Can’t Afford To Pay Their Way Out

New York City courts rely heavily on making defendants pay bail to get out of jail before trial. But thousands of inmates can?t, leaving taxpayers footing the cost of locking up thousands of people who could otherwise be released, according to a Thursday report. And critics say these figures don?t consider the full human toll of the practice, which heaps untold expenses on the city due to lost opportunity.

On any given day in the city, nearly 4,000 people are awaiting trial behind bars simply because they can?t afford to pay bail, finds an Independent Budget Office audit of pretrial defendants in the city. All told, the city spends $116 million each year incarcerating these individuals who have not been convicted of a crime.

The report uses 2016 data, which reveals that the overwhelming majority of pretrial detainees admitted to New York City jails last year were booked on misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.

The audit also illustrates stark disparities in the population held at lockups around New York City. These facilities house nearly 10,000 people each day. Around 7,600 are being held pretrial and the rest have been convicted and are serving sentences of a year or less. Ninety percent of all pretrial detainees are men, and they?re largely young men of color.

Of all pretrial detainees booked last year, 72 percent were given the option to post bail. In other words, the courts decided that they were allowed to go free, so long as they could afford it. Many couldn?t, however, leaving them to languish behind bars either until their trial date ? a period that often stretches on for months or longer ? or until they could come up with bail money.

?On an average day 3,931, or 52 percent, of all pretrial detainees were being held because they had been unable to post bail, although at least some would likely be able to do so shortly,? reads the report, written by IBO Director Ronnie Lowenstein.

Facing the likelihood of prolonged confinement, many defendants feel pressured to plead guilty to charges, even if they didn?t actually commit a crime. In 2013, under 5 percent of cases processed in New York City were resolved in a trial. The odds of a case reaching a favorable outcome for the defendant greatly decrease if they are held before trial, studies show.

In New York City, many pretrial detainees remain jailed before trial even though they face only low-level charges. A full third of those unable to post bail at arraignment last year faced misdemeanor charges, according to the audit. Another quarter faced felony charges for drugs or other nonviolent offenses.

Lesser charges typically result in smaller bail amounts. But that doesn?t mean an easy path out of jail. For some defendants, just hundreds of dollars could have been the difference between freedom before trial and an indefinite jail sentence.

?The mean bail set for those unable to post bail immediately was $39,163 and the median bail was $5,000, indicating that for half of these individuals bail was $5,000 or less,? Lowenstein added.

Commercial bail bondsmen typically charge a nonrefundable fee of 10 percent of the total bail amount, meaning that $500 would cover a $5,000 bail.

The audit?s findings are likely to bolster calls for change from critics of money bail, who are fighting what they call a ?two-tiered? system of justice that favors the wealthy and disadvantages the poor in jurisdictions around the nation.

New York City council member Rory Lancman (D), the chair of the Committee on Courts and Legal Services who requested the audit, said he found the results concerning.

?Today?s IBO report confirms that the vast majority of people on Rikers Island are there because they cannot afford bail, are overwhelmingly black and brown, and many are there for nonviolent, low-level offenses ? all at enormous expense to taxpayers,? said Lancman in a statement. ?It reaffirms the urgent need for [New York City] Mayor de Blasio to put in place a real plan to close Rikers Island.?

In March, De Blasio announced plans to shutter Rikers, the city?s largest corrections facility, within the next 10 years.

Although the audit establishes a $116 million figure for detaining people who don?t have the means to pay bail, it fails to capture the full human cost of this form of incarceration, says Scott Levy, special counsel to the criminal defense practice, the Bronx Defenders.

?Even short stays on Rikers can have devastating effects for our clients,? he told HuffPost. ?The family and community ties are strained, people lose jobs, people lose houses, mental health issues are exacerbated, health care is disrupted, families are disrupted.?

With little evidence to suggest that keeping most of these defendants in jail before trial has any effect on public safety or crime rates, Levy said the city needs to rethink its approach. 

?It?s costing the city a fortune, it?s costing our clients a fortune in lost opportunity and life disruption, which in turn costs the city untold money but also justice and resources,? said Levy. ?And it?s not really clear what we?re getting for any of that.?

Not all of these cases involve short stays. The story of Kalief Browder, just 16 years old when he was arrested in 2010 for allegedly stealing a backpack, opened many people?s eyes to the controversial practice of money bail and pretrial incarceration. Although Browder maintained his innocence, his family couldn?t afford to bail him out. He remained locked up on Rikers for three years while he awaited trial, with much of that time spent in solitary confinement. In June 2013, a judge dismissed his case, allowing Browder to return home. Two years later, Browder hanged himself after a battle with depression.

Browder would have celebrated his 24th birthday later this month. His case continues to serve as a reminder of how the justice system operates differently for those who don?t have financial resources.

?For indigent people charged with offenses, the setting of bail is a de facto sentence,? said Levy. ?You have no due process.?

Supporters of bail reform have been challenging the use of money as a condition for release in court systems around the nation. They argue that judges must take into account a defendant?s ability to pay before assigning bail. They also support changes, like those recently implemented statewide in New Jersey, requiring judicial officers to base pretrial release decisions upon a risk assessment of a defendant?s danger to the community and likelihood to return for future court dates. Although judges can hold defendants without bail, most are now released under their own recognizance, or under the supervision of a pretrial services program.

Judges in New York City have a number of alternatives to money bail at their disposal. This includes the option of supervised release, which de Blasio endorsed last year with a new pretrial release program. Although overall city jail populations have fallen in recent years, suggesting there may be some shift, bail decisions remain largely up to the discretion of judges who, for the most part, appear satisfied with the status quo.

That needs to change, said Levy.

?Most people, left to their own devices, will come back to court on their own without any conditions put on them whatsoever,? he said. ?You can just release people and they will come back to court and they will have the ability to resolve their case as justice requires.?

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