When facing legal trouble, being able to post bail means the difference between spending an unknown amount behind bars and being able to live your life. While the ability to post bail has been a part of the history of the United States for quite some time, that does not exempt it from having issues that hurt the American people.
Since the year 2000, the annual number of people convicted of crimes have remained about the same, while the number of people in jail has risen drastically. One of the issues attributed to this is the cost of posting bail.
According to Jonathan Lippman, the Chief Judge of New York, some people who cannot post a 500-dollar bail end up spending their lives “rotting” in the prison system.
When formed, the penal system was to not enforce high bail or fines unless someone was convicted of a crime, with the belief that innocence was presumed until conviction. Today, the system does not work with these same beliefs. People in lower-income communities suffer the most from this change, as the lack of this presumption often leads to extreme physical and mental harm.
For additional information on issues with bail, please review the attached video.