Giving Compass’ Take:
• Daniele Selby debunks six myths about cash bail reform, focusing on why eliminating the system would not be harmful to communities.
• What does the bail system look like in your state? What role can funders play in implementing effective bail reform?
• Read more about the fight to end cash bail reform.
Today, cash bail, initially intended to ensure that defendants appear for their court dates, is instead perpetuating poverty cycles in the United States, and further disenfranchising poor communities of color, who are arrested and incarcerated at disproportionate rates.
Still there are many misconceptions about what reforming the cash bail system would look like. Below, we clear some of those up.
- MYTH 1: There’s no need to reform the cash bail system because bail is set at fair and affordable amounts. The median bail set for felony charges is $10,000, despite the fact that 4 in 10 Americans would not be able to come up $400 in an emergency, according to the Federal Reserve.
- MYTH 2: “Violent offenders” will be free to “roam the streets.” Cash bail has not been proven to keep communities safer; in fact, it may do the opposite.
- MYTH 3: People are more likely to skip their court dates without bail. The city released 94% of people arrested without bail in 2017 — and 88% of those people made every one of their court dates, DC Judge Truman Morrison told NPR.
- MYTH 4: Crime rates will increase if cash bail is abolished. Since eliminating its cash bail system in 2017, New Jersey has actually seen crime rates plummet.
- MYTH 5: Eliminating cash bail will put crime victims in danger. Critics of bail reform have said that overturning the system will particularly endanger victims of these alleged crimes; however, crime victim advocates have also joined the call for cash bail reform.
- MYTH 6: Bail reform will be expensive and cost taxpayers large amounts of money. While it’s true that cash bail reform won’t come cheap, if done well, it should save state and local governments money over time.
Read the full article about myths about cash bail by Daniele Selby at Global Citizen.
Criminal Justice is a complex topic, and others found these selections from the Impact Giving archive from Giving Compass to be good resources.
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