The number of Cook County, Il., jail inmates dropped by more than 1,600 in the months after a mandate to set affordable bonds for criminal defendants, says Chief Judge Timothy Evans. Violent crime in Chicago dropped 8 percent during the same period.
A new Vera Institute report commissioned by the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge contends that pretrial detention “actually causes more damage than good to the overall results of the criminal justice system.”
In a new survey, 55 percent of New York voters favored New York’s new policy to eliminate cash bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. A bare majority favors legalizing marijuana, a pending issue.
U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said two plaintiffs who languished in jail for more than 24 hours before their families could secure bail had shown that their poverty significantly deprived them of their right to freedom.
Last October’s well-publicized bailout of 105 New Yorkers who were awaiting trial is now history. But a volunteer who participated says it underlines why changing America’s pretrial detention system should be a high priority.
On Oct 1, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights group began a month-long “mass bailout” project in New York aimed at highlighting the inequalities of a system that forces the poor to remain behind bars before trial simply because they cannot afford money bail. Local DAs fumed, but a former NYC probation commissioner explains why he decided to participate.
A Circuit Court judge’s reluctance to adapt reforms to money bail and other court procedures stands in the way of reducing jail overcrowding in rural Kentucky, according to a study commissioned by two county governments.
In a major victory for civil rights groups, U.S. District Judge David Godbey prohibited Dallas County from using a predetermined schedule to set bail .without considering alternatives that would allow the suspects’ release from jail.