Bail reform is doing more harm than good. Bail reforms are focused on improving political posturing rather than public safety. They are set on selfless and ill-conceived grounds trying to gauge a defendant’s release eligibility. Current bail practices are proving to be unfair since low-income defendants can’t post the same bail amount as the wealthy ones.
The goal of being granted bail is for you to be released as you await trial and prepare your legal defenses. In this process, the community is assured that you will be in court for trial. Bail serves as a mechanism meant to consider your interest in being set free and the community’s interest in being assured that you will make court appearances.
Incentives Used in Bail Reform
Bail reformers in states like North Carolina are pushing for initiatives such as issuing citations and using a public-safety checklist. They suggest that police officers should replace an arrest with a criminal summons, which requires a person to appear in court without going to court. With a public-safety checklist, defendants get released on their written promise to make court appearances. These initiatives seem biased and ineffective in helping accused individuals exercise their rights.
One reason bail reforms are a bad idea is that they seek to eliminate money bail and fail to help achieve safety and fairness in the modern criminal justice system. These reforms are suggesting that computer-based tools be used to decide who is set free and who remains in custody. It is quite unfair to rely on these so-called risk assessment tools to decide on a person’s flight risk.
Various bail reform efforts focus on shrinking jails by having few people incarcerated. Their downside is that the fewer people to be detained are particularly racial minorities, low-risk defendants and poor. Using pretrial risk assessment tools to determine the type of defendants who can be released is an unfair way of dealing with the current bail system.
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