POLICY PLATFORM: END THE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE
END TO PRETRIAL DETENTION AND MONEY BAIL
An end to pretrial detention, money bail, risk assessment, mandatory fines, fees, court surcharges, and Defendant Funded court proceedings
The use of pretrial detention and money bail has contributed to the 500% explosion in U.S. jail populations over the last forty years. Tonight around 600,000 people will sleep in a local jail, even though over 75%, or about 462,000 people, have not been convicted of any crime. Most are caged, in some cases for periods of months or years, because they are unable to post bail. Others are there because they were deemed a risk to themselves or their communities, often by racially biased risk assessment tools. Still others are there because they were unable to pay a fee or fine imposed by a judge in a criminal or civil proceeding.
People incarcerated pretrial without bail are often held based on presumptions of dangerousness rooted in anti-Blackness, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia, risk assessments that rely on data that is based on – and reinforces – existing racial and economic disparities in policing, employment, and housing, and mandatory detention of undocumented migrants. Once held on bail, people are more likely to plead guilty to avoid long pretrial detention.
Pretrial detention takes a devastating toll on criminalized people and communities, including severe financial hardship; physical, sexual, and other forms of violence in jails and detention centers; denial of necessary health care or treatment; contact with immigration authorities leading to potential detention and deportation; and loss of housing, employment, and child custody.
It also costs communities $38 million dollars a day.
In addition to the financial burdens of bail, criminalized populations are subject to criminal fees and fines, further impoverishing working class, low- and no-income Black people and creating additional risks of incarceration, loss of licenses, asset seizure, and credit and child welfare as a consequence of inability to pay.
- End money bail and pretrial detention
- Eliminate risk assessments
- Eliminate criminal punishment fees and fines
KEY FEDERAL LEGISLATION
Organizations currently working on policy
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