If you're poor and you're accused of a crime, you may be theoretically "innocent until proven guilty," and you may in fact be innocent, but you're likely to go to jail anyway, for a considerable period of time, unless you can afford the financial cost of bail.
Click here to tell your U.S. senators and representative to cosponsor a bill that will change this.
Innocent or guilty, your career and your life will suffer from your sudden lengthy absence, and you'll likely be even poorer after your ordeal. While in jail, you'll be less able to prepare to defend yourself in court. You'll be likely to lose your home if you miss a couple rent payments. Your children may have no one to care for them. And your reputation will be less easily repaired. All because you're poor.
Meanwhile, we'll all have to pay the financial and societal costs of imposing this unfair treatment on you -- of locking you up in what may be called a "correctional" institution, but which often trains its victims in the ways of crime. We spend $14 billion a year locking up people not convicted of anything.
Almost one quarter of the people locked up in the United States -- which leads the world in locking people up -- have not been convicted of any crime. Undoing the injustice of incarceration as a penalty for lack of money bail is one of the easiest ways in which we could reduce mass incarceration.
Senator Bernie Sanders has just introduced the No Money Bail Act of 2018. Click here to quickly email your senators and representative to support it.
If enacted, this law would:
- Formally end the use of secured bonds in federal criminal proceedings.
- Provide grants to states that wish to implement alternate pretrial systems and reduce their pretrial detention population.
- Withhold grant funding from states that continue to use money bail systems.
- Require a study three years after implementation to ensure the new alternate systems are also not leading to disparate detentions rates.
Click here to tell your elected representatives you want them to get on board with this just cause.
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-- The RootsAction.org Team
P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.
> The No Money Bail Act of 2018