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Google bans ads for bail bonds on all its platforms

Regular Policy Watch readers have been reading for months about the problems of the bail bond industry and the inequity of the cash bail system.

Today Google announced it will ban advertisements for bail bonds on all of its platforms, citing ethical concerns about the predatory nature of the industry and particularly its affect on those living in poverty and communities of color.

From the company’s announcement:

Studies show that for-profit bail bond providers make most of their revenue from communities of color and low income neighborhoods when they are at their most vulnerable, including through opaque financing offers that can keep people in debt for months or years.

We made this decision based on our commitment to protect our users from deceptive or harmful products, but the issue of bail bond reform has drawn support from a wide range of groups and organizations who have shared their work and perspectives with us, including the Essie Justice Group, Koch Industries, Color of Change and many civil and human rights organizations who have worked on the reform of our criminal justice system for many years.

According to Gina Clayton, executive director of the Essie Justice Group, “This is the largest step any corporation has taken on behalf of the millions of women who have loved ones in jails across this country. Google’s new policy is a call to action for all those in the private sector who profit off of mass incarceration. It is time to say ‘no more.’”

Enforcement of this policy will begin in July 2018. This policy change is part of our ongoing efforts to protect users on our platforms.

Google also announced it will be partnering with Koch Industries, the powerful multinational owned by influential political financiers Charles and David Koch, to take on bail reform.

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