Press Contact: Jeremy Cherson, Director of Communications
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
(ATLANTA, GA) — Today, lawmakers in Georgia passed Senate Bill 63 in the House. The Bail Project offered the following statement in response:
“All Georgians deserve to be safe, but reliance on cash bail doesn’t keep us safe; public safety, not wealth, should determine whether someone is incarcerated pretrial. Unfortunately, with SB 63, the Republican-controlled House – in lock-step with the Senate – has passed regressive legislation that will only entrench a two-tiered system of justice in Georgia. By limiting judicial discretion through requirements that cash bail be set for a variety of misdemeanors, and by restricting charitable bail organizations, churches, and individuals from supporting members of their community with bail assistance, SB 63 fuels mass incarceration and removes 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. Apparently, the state’s lawmakers are turning a blind eye to the fact that this regressive legislation, which harkens back to misguided tough-on-crime approaches, will bring catastrophic harm to the most vulnerable Georgians.
Georgia’s jails are in crisis: buckling under long case processing delays, overcrowding, and inhumane conditions. Accountability is necessary, but so is prevention. Instead of pursuing smart legislation that expands supportive services like affordable housing, employment programs, and mental health and substance use treatment, Georgia lawmakers have folded to a disproven, status quo approach that has only stoked the existing jail crisis and will ultimately make communities less safe. We urge the Governor to act where the Senate and House have failed: halt the criminalization of poverty by vetoing SB 63.”
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.