Texas bail reform requires that individuals accused of violent crimes post cash bail before being released from jail. The main issue associated with the adoption of this law is the increase in economic disparity. In other words, the poor accused of violent crimes would not be able to provide bail, which increases the number of low-income prisoners. According to statistics, incarcerated people prior to arrest, on average, had a lower income than non-incarcerated people.
Statistical facts on the income of incarcerated and non-incarcerated people:
- The average income of incarcerated people prior to arrest is, on average more than two times lower than that of non-incarcerated people (Rabuy & Kopf, 2015);
- Over 57% of incarcerated people prior to arrest had an income below $22,500 (Rabuy & Kopf, 2015);
- Incarcerated people, prior to arrest, generally have a monthly income between $1,000 and $5,000 (Rabuy & Kopf, 2015).
As can be seen from the statistics, on average, before the arrest, incarcerated people had a lower dose. The Texas bail reform poses a significant threat to the increase in the number of poor people accused of violent crimes in prisons and the further growth of disparities. Potentially, the law can “violate the rights of tens of thousands of people — disproportionately poor, Black and brown people — every year” (Mccullough, 2021). One potential solution to the problem would be to completely eliminate monetary bail options for violent crimes. However, this decision may result in increased costs for pretrial detention, which is not preferred. Another possible option is to determine the size of the bail based not only on the characteristics of the crime, but also on the income of the person before the arrest. Finally, other forms of pretrial release, including release under supervision.
Rabuy, B., & Kopf, D. (2015). Prisons of Poverty: Uncovering the pre-incarceration incomes of the imprisoned. Prison Policy Initiative. Web.
Mccullough, J. (2021). Texas lawmakers pass a rewrite of the state’s bail system aimed at keeping more people behind bars who can’t post cash. The Texas Tribune. Web.