If you are arrested and charged with a crime in most places throughout the U.S., you can be assigned a bail amount. This amount refers to how much you must come up with in order to be released from jail while you await trial. If you are unable to come up with the money, you will stay in jail during the entire trial. The state of New Jersey has already reformed its bail system, but equality advocates seek greater reform on a national basis.
Advocates argue that bail reform punishes people with lower income
If you are charged with a crime and cannot pay the bail, you will become one of the 56% of people sitting in jail without a conviction. These people stay in jail only because they cannot afford to pay bail, and advocates argue that this puts people with lower incomes at a disadvantage.
Advocates argue that reform doesn’t cause crime waves
As bail reform takes a center stage on 2022 midterms, one of the primary arguments involves whether bail reform increases crime. But advocates point to studies about pretrial reform that prove this concern to be invalid. Advocates point out that bail reform typically results in reduced crime levels.
Advocates point out that cash bail systems negatively affect inmates’ health
When you are forced to remain in jail because you cannot afford bail, your health becomes negatively affected. Staying in jail is associated with the following negative health outcomes:
- Hepatitis C
Bail reform advocates seek equality in the criminal justice system
Those who advocate for bail reform see the current system as one that is full of corruption and inequality. Under the eyes of the law, everyone should be treated equally, and bail reform advocates want that to be true for people awaiting trial.