Cash Bail

Cash Bail

Facts about Money Bail or Bond

  1. Around 70% of Americans in local jails are being held pretrial--meaning they haven’t been convicted of a crime and are legally presumed innocent.

  1. They are there because they cannot afford bail.  Many cannot even afford the 10%-15% unrecoverable fee the bondsman charges.

  1. This means that those awaiting trial risk losing jobs, housing, cars, even their children.

  1. This system disproportionately affects the poor and people of color.

  1. Black, Latinx and Indigenous people are twice as likely to be stuck in jail because they cannot afford to pay the bail.

  1. Pretrial incarceration increases the likelihood of conviction as well as receiving an active prison sentence and increases the length of the sentence received by 3 times.

  1. People are often so desperate to get back to their jobs and families that they end up taking a plea bargain, which is an admission of guilt, even when they are innocent, and this can affect the rest of their lives. (94% in  the State level cases accept plea bargain.)

  1. The US and Philippines are the only countries that allow money bond for profit.  In the US it is a 1.4 billion dollar industry mostly funded by 34 large insurance companies.

  1. It costs over 25 million a day to keep all pretrial detainees in jail at an average length of stay of 55 days, at an average of $60/day perr defendant.

  1. The purpose of money bail is to ensure the person shows up for the trial.  In jurisdictions where they have eliminated money bail they have demonstrated strong results of simply being in touch with the person to remind them of court dates. In Washington DC since outlawing money bail, 88% of released defendants have made all scheduled court appearances.  

  1. Covid has made this system a life threatening system for many.

Help End Debtor's Prisons

We advocate for and educate the public regarding the extent to which our criminal justice system has become an unconstitutional "debtor's prison" for those too poor to pay bail and the extensive array of fines and fees imposed by North Carolina courts.

Current Relevant Resources

After Cash Bail: A Framework for Re-imagining Pretrial Justice from the Bail Project.
This excellent article that lays out a sequence of things that need to happen to change the bail system.

Breaking Down Bail: Debunking Common Bail Myths: an excellent 3 and a half minute explanation of the problems and inequities caused by Cash Bail. Although the video is about California, these same issues pertain to North Carolina.

A Deal with the Devil: Plea Deals: (6 minutes) Cash bail can result in terrible outcomes, even for the innocent. Unfortunately these facts are still true today across the country.

Black Mama's Bail Out Action: "SONG [Southerners on Common Ground] is a member of the National Bail Out, a formation of over a dozen community based organizations that is responsible for the Black Mama’s Bail Out along with subsequent bail out actions and strategies to end money bail and pretrial detention." Listen to this 17-minute WUNC radio program describing the incredible program: