Categories:  'Criminal Justice & Incarceration Society'  

Unreasonably High Bail Costs Keep Defendants in Jail

In the United States, bail is a trap door for those who cannot afford it, putting 85 percent of defendants. Even when bail is set [...]

In the United States, bail is a trap door for those who cannot afford it, putting 85 percent of defendants. Even when bail is set relatively low, only 15 percent of defendants are able to come up with the money to avoid jail. Bail is the grease that keeps the overburdened justice system turning, and ensuring that no one is imprisoned based on poverty would necessitate an overturn of the criminal justice system. The real damage goes far beyond incarceration: the system separates family members, interrupts work, and jeopardizes housing. It’s ridiculous that they punish people unable to pay bail by making it harder for them to pay bail.

Common proposals requires judges to consider bail only as a last option after examining a defendant’s financial means. Otherwise, the system will continue to punish low-income defendants and reward wealthier defendants. When people are held in jail because they are poor, the criminal justice system fails to advance the public interest of safety. People shouldn’t spend a month in jail for charges that would later be dropped.

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Articles

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