The cash bail system is discriminatory towards people who cannot afford to bail and are forced to endure pretrial detainment even if they are innocent. Apart from criminalizing poverty, it “perpetuates inequities in the justice system that are disproportionately felt by communities of color and those experiencing poverty” (Hunter, 2020, para. 2). Therefore, it is evident that the system is unfair in that it disproportionately benefits white people and wealthy individuals. For a person not coming from the best background, spending even a few days in jail can lead to the loss of their job or housing. Moreover, some people borrow money to avoid pretrial detainment and end up in debt. Meanwhile, rich individuals buy their way out of this and walk the streets free.
Opponents of eliminating cash bail for non-violent offenses have relied on publicized cases of the reform’s failures. However, it is important to remember that anecdotal evidence is mostly irrelevant if it means that “for every story that gets sensationalized, there are hundreds of people who have been able to keep their jobs and remain with their families while accused of low-level crimes” (as cited in Schuppe, 2020, para. 14). Research demonstrates that after implementing a no cash bail reform, rates of appearance for trial and rearrest remained relatively the same (Hunter, 2020). It is evident, however, that the prison system needs to change in order to both accommodate underprivileged people and ensure their recovery instead of pushing them towards a path of recidivism. One thing worth implementing is the government investing in support systems to increase court appearance rates and help prison inmates navigate life after release. Federal agencies can sponsor court reminders and childcare assistance during court proceedings since most instances of trial nonappearance are a result of the lack of access to transportation and childcare services. As for recently released inmates, corporations need to have a quota of such individuals to be hired.
Hunter, L. (2020). What you need to know about ending cash bail. Center for American Progress. Web.
Schuppe, J. (2020). Fair or dangerous? Days after ending cash bail, New York has second thoughts. NBC News. Web.