Joel Rose

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This story is part of Kitchen Table Conversations, a series from NPR's National Desk that examines how Americans from all walks of life are moving forward from the presidential election.

In some ways, Desiree Armas is your typical high school senior. She's getting ready to take the test for her driver's license. And she's applying to colleges.

Mustafa Willis has seen the bail process in New Jersey up close. Willis was arrested in Newark in 2010 for unlawful possession of a firearm. The charges were later dropped. But he spent three months in jail before his family could scrape together $3,000 to bail him out.

"When you feel like you don't have that kind of money, the only you gonna do is say I'll take probation, so I can get home and get back to my job and get back to my family," he says. "That's the only thing. Because how the rules work, if you don't bail out, you gonna sit there."

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