A single day in jail is devastating
While a person’s life crumbles behind bars, on the outside, bills are left unpaid, hard-won jobs are lost, families are kicked out of their homes, loved ones in need of care taking are left without caretakers or breadwinners.
Bail creates a pay-to-play system
Those with means have completely different case outcomes from those without. When you’re incarcerated, there’s simply nothing more powerful than the desire to go home. If it means returning to your loved ones, or your job, or just getting out of jail, people overwhelmingly plead guilty even when innocent, even when the case is weak, and even where there was police misconduct.
Police & prosecutors get a free pass
Once bail coerces a plea, the case is over. The officers involved in the arrest will never have to take the stand and be cross-examined. A guilty plea also erects legal barriers to a civil rights lawsuit for unconstitutional policing. The conduct of prosecutors will almost never be scrutinized. There’s simply no disincentive for overpolicing and overprosecuting in a system of pleas driven in large measure by pretrial detention.
A burden borne by Blacks and Latinos
In New York City, almost 90% of those incarcerated on cash bail pre-trial for misdemeanors are people of color.
The price of a presidential suite
At over $700 per night, Rikers Island, one of the worst jails or prisons in the country, eclipses presidential suites at world class hotels, but with way worse service and extreme violence. We all pay this cost, yet we all know this money could be better spent investing in poverty-alleviation and community-building