The Buckeye Institute released a report contending that the practice of requiring defendants to post money in order to secure their release from jail is an “inefficient, expensive, unfair means of protecting communities that has proven no guarantee to stopping repeat offenders.”
With the system facing unprecedented scrutiny, four states and the District of Columbia are among jurisdictions showing that real reforms to the bail system are possible, says the Washington Post in an editorial.
In Philip K. Dick’s “Minority Report,” criminals could be identified before they committed a crime. Computer-generated risk algorithms used by courts to determine whether individuals should be released ahead of trial have brought us a step closer to that world–and our challenge is to use them responsibly, says a George Mason University professor.
New Jersey’s use of an algorithm to advise judges on pretrial release “is what the new vision of American justice looks like,” NBC News reports. Six months into the new practice, New Jersey jails are already starting to empty, and the number of people locked up while awaiting trial has dropped.
Photographer Edward French was murdered in San Francisco, allegedly by a teen who had served a jail term and had recently been arrested again. The victim’s partner charges that a judge made an “insane’ decision based on a risk-assessment algorithm.
ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center charge that a company called Rehabilitation Home Incarceration charged hundreds of inmates “random” by requiring that they pay heft fees on top of bail to obtain release from jail.
Reforms in several states require judges to base pretrial releases on defendants’ risk to public safety rather than their ability to pay. The American Bail Coalition hopes the Trump administration will slow the momentum for reform.
The Chicago Tribune finds that many of those who are arrested several times on felony weapons charges cycle in and out of jail before their trials, easily posting bond with suspected gang money, only to commit new crimes long before their original case is resolved.