In many US states, there is a bail bond system set up that is designed to ensure that those that are arrested show up for their hearings and trials. Originally it was based on the American belief that all of those accused were innocent until proven guilty and, in most cases, they aren’t a risk to society, so they should be able to work at their jobs, be with their families, and not be in jail while awaiting their hearing. What that usually involves is the posting of bail and signing of a guarantee that you’ll show up on schedule. If you don’t have sufficient money on hand to post bail, then there are bail bonds businesses that can take a 10% deposit and they will guarantee to the court that you’ll show for trial. As with most systems, there are loop holes, discrepancies, people that fall through the cracks, and inequalities as well, let’s take a look.
Those With Less Money Tend To Spend A Lot More Time In Jail
The system was not ever intended to be a poor man’s prison, where people of lesser means ended up in jail for petty crimes, some that they didn’t commit. However, in this day of huge inequalities of assets and income, to many people, it has become a paupers prison. Those that have a lot of money can easily afford the high priced attorneys, post the bond, and be on their happy way almost immediately.
On the other hand, people with few dollars in their pockets, a low wage job, and few friends willing to help, end up spending months awaiting trial. In addition to that, many people believe, that a lot of the laws on the books are designed to trap people of little means and incarcerate them for long periods of time. People of color, recent immigrants, and the poor feel especially targeted in many ways. Plus, many studies do show that in some states, those disaffected groups are pulled over and searched in much higher percentages than the rich, white, and non-immigrants.
Bail Bond Reform Coming To Many US States
The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, and several other organizations have come together to help level the playing field when it comes to bailing out of jail. They have gathered together thousands of examples where people that were a risk to society but had plenty of money, were released on bond. However, others, that committed small, non-violent, low-risk crimes, ended up in jail for months awaiting their trials. The inequality of the situation seems obvious to some while others are completely blind to it.
One of the biggest problems that many poor face is that they are randomly selected for searches that land them in jail on a regular basis because of small amounts of drugs. The rich, so they claim, can consume their drugs inside their big houses and not ever be searched or when they party away from home, they are given more respect from officers because of their money.
The new bail bond reform measures are meant to keep dangerous people off the streets, no matter how much money they have, and then release lesser offenders to go back to their families and jobs. In the end, the hope of the legislation is to make the system blind to the wealth and income of the accused and more concerned with public safety instead.