8:05am PT by Ashley Lee
John Oliver Rips U.S. Bail System and Violent Bounty Hunter Reality Shows (Video)
Before John Oliver celebrated the resignation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter by chugging a Bud Light Lime on Sunday's show, the Last Week Tonight host explored the realities of the U.S. bail system. He noted how a non-violent criminal can get stuck awaiting a trial in Rikers Island for driving with a suspended license — as opposed to Robert Durst, who said in The Jinx, "Goodbye $250,000, goodbye jail, I'm out!"
"This is a systemic problem," Oliver stressed of the frequency and rising cost of bail. "Increasingly, bail has become a way to lock up the poor, regardless of guilt. ... Jail is supposed to be for dangerous people!"
Those who can't afford their bail but want to avoid a stay in jail in order to keep their jobs and other commitments — "Jail can do for your actual life what being in a marching band can do for your social life: even if you're just in for a little while, it can destroy you!" — are forced to then plead guilty for release. "The only time that's appropriate is in a Catholic confessional."
Or, they work with corporate bail bonds companies, with their memorable TV ads and oft-unregulated bounty hunters. While that makes for buzzy reality shows like Dog the Bounty Hunter and its many copycats, "it says something about how comfortable we are about how our bail system works that a TV show where people with guns hunt humans for sport seems legitimate," and can result in the death of innocent people.
"Maybe we just need a new kind of reality show to get us used to the alternative," said Oliver of America's warped view of justice, teasing a show about pre-trial services that stars Becky Ann Baker, Michael Torpey, Dean Winters and William Stephenson.
Watch the segment below.