From CNBC: “When someone finds themselves in jail, they can often gain their freedom while they await trial by posting bail. But even small bails amounting to just $500 or $1,000 can prove unaffordable for many. In fact, 40% of Americans say they could not afford an unexpected $400 expense, according to the Federal Reserve.”
Like many in Louisville, DeMontez found himself in an impossible situation: He had to attend court-mandated classes as part of his probationary sentences, but he didn’t have the money to pay for them or the transportation to get there.
As a result, warrants were issued for his arrest because he didn’t finish the classes. If he showed up to court, he likely would have been jailed and held on bail he couldn’t afford. There was also the chance police would come to arrest him at any time.
Going to jail would have done nothing but disrupt DeMontez’ life and make it even more difficult to achieve stability. When people are detained solely because they can’t afford bail, they stand to lose their homes, jobs, and even custody of their children.
The Bail Project was able to help DeMontez by posting his bail immediately after he turned himself in at the courthouse. He says he’s since stayed sober, kept his housing, and lined up a job to continue providing for his family.
Nobody should be in jail just because they can’t afford their freedom. We’ll continue serving folks like DeMontez who just want to get their life on track without getting further ensnared in the criminal legal system.
Over half of the jail population in Washington County, Arkansas, “is made up of people waiting to see a judge. Some are non-violent offenders who can’t pay their bail – that’s where the non-profit the bail project comes in.”
“In fiscal year 2018, the Trump administration deported 256,086 immigrants, an increase of 13 percent over the previous year. In contrast, President Barack Obama removed 409,849 people in 2012, an all-time high, and 235,413 in fiscal year 2015.”
An op-ed from leading thinkers in statistics, data science and law explains the fundamental problems with pre-trial risk assessments:
“Applying ‘big data’ forecasting to our existing criminal justice practices is not just inadequate — it also risks cementing the irrational fears and flawed logic of mass incarceration behind a veneer of scientific objectivity.”