Press Contact: Jeremy Cherson, Director of Communications
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
(ATLANTA, GA) — Today, lawmakers in Georgia passed Senate Bill 63 in the Senate. The Bail Project offered the following statement in response:
“During a time when Georgia’s jails are in crisis – buckling under long case processing delays, overcrowding, and inhumane conditions – the Senate has made the misguided decision of passing SB 63, a bill that undermines the rights of Georgians by doubling-down on the use of cash bail, which undermines the presumption of innocence and is a primary driver of mass incarceration.
With minimal notice or opportunity for community input, this bill severely restricts the operations of charitable bail organizations, even those operated by churches, which are a lifeline to impoverished Georgians who are incarcerated solely because they can’t pay bail. This is like placing restrictions on a food pantry while claiming to solve hunger.
As long as Georgia’s cash bail system persists, a two-tiered system of justice exists: people with money – no matter what they are charged with or how dangerous they may be – will be able to buy their way to freedom, while people without money will be forced to remain incarcerated pretrial, where they will lose jobs and homes, and face the pressure to plead guilty even if they are innocent. To truly close the revolving door of mass incarceration, we need to invest in preventative services like supportive housing, employment programs, education, and drug treatment services, that give people a fighting chance to achieve stability in their lives and avoid crime. Instead, Georgia’s senators have turned a blind eye to what Georgians really need, and in the process, shown their callous disregard for reality. Smart policies decrease crime, but that’s not what this bill does.”
About The Bail Project
The Bail Project is a national nonprofit that provides free bail assistance and pretrial support to thousands of low-income people every year, while advancing policy change at the local, state, and national level. It is on a mission to combat mass incarceration by eliminating reliance on cash bail and demonstrating that a more humane, equitable, and effective pretrial system is possible. Since November 2019, The Bail Project has assisted more than 1,500 Georgians with free bail assistance and voluntary supportive services. Our clients in Georgia have returned to nearly 90% of their court dates, laying waste to the idea that cash bail is a necessary incentive to ensure a person’s future court appearance. Learn more about The Bail Project at bailproject.org. Read our policy roadmap at aftercashbail.org
Thank you for your valuable attention. The urgency and complication of the cash bail crisis requires meaningful participation to create real change – change that is only achieved through the support of readers like you. Please consider sharing this piece with your networks and donating what you can today to sustain our vital work.