Bail calculation tool developed by left-wing billionaire philanthropist used in Waukesha

John Arnold is a left-wing billionaire philanthropist who has been called a "mini George Soros."

Updated: December 12, 2021 - 4:00am

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Billionaire philanthropist John Arnold is one of the creators of a bail calculation tool used in Waukesha, Wisc., the jurisdiction that set Darrell Brooks Jr.'s bail so low that he was able to be leave jail and allegedly plow an SUV into a crowd of Christmas parade-goers, killing six people and injuring several dozen others. 

Arnold and his wife, Laura, fund a range of left-leaning social and legal projects, including bail reform, abortion rights, anti-gun work, and single-payer health care.  A commentary published in Investor’s Business Daily called them "the mini George Soroses" because of the notable similarities between their political-philanthropic goals and those of the notoriously left-wing philanthropist, according to Legal Newsline.

In 2015, after two years of testing and $1.2 million spent, Arnold's bail calculation tool was rolled out in 21 jurisdictions (a figure that has now expanded to at least 55).

"The algorithm gives defendants two scores — one for their likelihood of committing a crime and one for their risk of failing to appear in court — and flags those with an elevated risk of violence," Sheila Dewan wrote in the New York Times at the time.

According to Arnold's website, his goal is to "reform every aspect of the pretrial system -- from policing to bail; prosecution to public defense -- to ensure that every person who has contact with the justice system is afforded equal treatment under the law. We support policies that de-incarcerate, protect individuals' constitutional rights, advance community safety and promote racial justice."

An article presently available on his site condemns the idea that the Waukesha massacre indicates an issue with the bail reform movement, and instead advocates for abolishing cash bail entirely.

"The bloodshed was another sad example of the human toll of substituting money for a measure of public safety," the author of the story wrote. "In fact, the driver's previous risk assessment had flagged a potential need for preventative detention. But instead a money bail was set." 

Arnold's website specifically identifies bail reform, prosecution, and public defense as three areas that Arnold Ventures is "working on."

"We envision a new model of prosecution, where prosecutors' decision making is transparent and data-driven, and prosecutors commit to a holistic -- rather than punitive -- approach to community safety," reads the site.

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