Bail is Costly for Taxpayers and the Accused


A new report by the Justice Policy Institute, a non-profit that advocates against the use of money bail, argues that the practice of demanding money for release from jail is discriminatory against those with low-incomes and is costly for taxpayers.

In 1992, release on recognizance was the most common type of pretrial release, according to U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics data cited in the report. By 2006, the use of release on recognizance had declined by 33 percent, while 70 percent of those charged with felonies were assigned money bail. The average bail amount increased by over $30,000 during that same period, according to the report.

Those who cannot afford money bail can lose their jobs, according to the report, “and if they are self?employed, pretrial detention effectively shuts their business down.” Detaining people in county jails during pretrial also cost taxpayers about $9 billion in 2011, according to the report.

The Justice Policy Institute recommends eliminating the use of money bail, banning for-profit bail bonding, using standard risk assessments to determine who should be in jail, and using citations and summons in order to reduce the number of people jailed during pretrial.

Read the report, “Bail Fail: Why the U.S. Should End the Practice of Using Money for Bail,” HERE.

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