What’s New

The Bail Project / Newsroom  / What’s New (Page 29)

The Cambridge Homeless Court takes a different approach from most, connecting defendants with resources outside the court system. But critics say it doesn’t get to the root of the problem: “Communities are intentionally targeting the homeless by making it a crime to sleep on the street, or panhandle, or by selectively enforcing petty laws, using the criminal justice system to address the social service problem. Our preference would be simply stop criminalizing that behavior in the first place.”

Summarized by Jacob Koffler

“Suicide, long the leading cause of death in U.S. jails, hit a high of 50 deaths for every 100,000 inmates in 2014, the latest government data available…Many jails have been sued or investigated in recent years for allegedly refusing inmates medication to help manage mental illness, failing to properly monitor them or ignoring cries for help…

More than half the suicides or attempts occurred during the first week of being jailed, and about 80% of the inmates were awaiting trial.”

A federal judge ruled last week that St. Louis jails – including the infamous Workhouse where over 90% of people are detained pretrial – can’t incarcerate people simply because they can’t pay bail. The judge cited data from our St. Louis site in ruling that: “There is no evidence that financial conditions of release are more effective than alternatives for ensuring court appearance and public safety.” However, as of now, St. Louis courts are holding up new bail hearings for people entitled to them.

Summarized by Jacob Koffler

This piece from The Appeal looks at how “local media continues to rely on fearmongering police narratives in lieu of evidence and nuance.” Using Chicago’s CBS 2 as an example, it explores how local media outlets stoke unsubstantiated fears of threats to “public safety,” and, in the process, contribute undeserved pushback to bail reform. A necessary exploration of how the presumption of innocence is undermined not only in our courts, but also in our culture.

Summarized by Jacob Koffler