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  • In July 2015 New York decided to eliminate bail for non-violent criminals. This decision

  • comes after two recent deaths shed light on bail practices discriminating against the

  • poor. So how does bail actually work? And is it an unfair system?

  • Well, when you get arrested, youre usually given the option of returning home, to await

  • your trial. However, in order to make sure you actually come back, the courts require

  • you to give up a refundable deposit. This deposit is known asbail.” Some people

  • who are considered flight risks, or dangerous to society, are not give the opportunity to

  • post bail. If you do come back to court, the money is refunded to you. If you don’t,

  • you forfeit the money, and a warrant can be issued for your arrest. Giving suspects freedom

  • until their trial is a major aspect of the legal concept: innocent until proven guilty.

  • However, if you are unable to afford your bail, you stay imprisoned UNTIL your trial.

  • Many of the problems arising from waiting in jail, like wage-loss, are being considered

  • discriminatory against the poor. In 2013, New York state’s chief judge noted that

  • people without bail money, who committed even minor offenses, like protesting, had to stay

  • in jail for months awaiting trial.

  • Now, there ARE bail bondsmen wholl lend bail money to you - but they often charge

  • 10% in most states. So, if your bail is $10,000 dollars, you have to pay the bail company

  • $1,000 dollars. In this way, people who don’t have the money to begin with, end up spending

  • more than those who can actually afford it. Also, if youre too poor to find a co-signer

  • to the loan, or you don’t have many assets, bail companies can refuse to help you.

  • Although the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution states that bails should not beexcessive,”

  • the meaning ofexcessiveis debated. In a 1987 Supreme Court Case , setting high

  • bail costs to prevent the release of a suspect WAS deemed constitutional. This gave judges

  • more leeway to set high bails, based on their own perceptions of the accused and their crime.

  • The rich have a much easier time with the bail system. This is exemplified by many celebrities

  • seemingly nonchalant relationships with jail proceedings. In the early 2000s, Robert Durst

  • was arrested for murder in Texas, but easily posted $300,000 dollars bail, and skipped

  • town.

  • Yet, in 2010, 16 year old Kalief Browder, was arrested for stealing a backpack, and

  • his bail was set at $3,000 dollars. But his family couldn’t afford it, and due to trial

  • postponement, Browder spent the next three years imprisoned. In 2015 he committed suicide.

  • His death represents how broken the justice system is for those who can’t afford better.

  • For the rich; trials, bail money, and lawyer fees, are problems which are easily overcome.

  • For the poor, the decimation of time, life savings, and life itself, have irreparable

  • effects on families and communities.

  • It’s no secret that there are a ton of problems with the US Prison system. To learn about

  • the dangers of prisons-for-profit, check out our video here. Thanks for joining us on TestTube

  • News, make sure to subscribe!

In July 2015 New York decided to eliminate bail for non-violent criminals. This decision

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