Bail Reform

Photo from our 2019 Father’s Day Bailout.

Photo from our 2019 Father’s Day Bailout.

Why do we believe that we should end cash bail and pretrial detention?

In the U.S., there are 462,000 people currently incarcerated in our county jail systems pre-trial, meaning they haven’t been convicted of a crime but are often being held simply because they can’t afford to post bail. While those who can afford bail are able to await trial at home, those who cannot are forced to do one of 3 things:

1) wait until their trial date, which can take weeks to months;

2) be pressured into pleading guilty in order to be released; or

3) pay a bail bonds agency to cover bail, knowing that the money will unlikely be returned to them.

Unfortunately, when folks are forced to stay in jail because they can’t afford bail, they can lose their jobs, housing, and even their children. In Wayne County, 62% of the people currently incarcerated in the Wayne County jail are there pretrial. 

What we are doing?

Last year, DJC’s Executive Director Amanda Alexander worked with Robin Steinberg, Executive Director of The Bail Project to write a letter to David LaGrand addressing our concerns with his proposed bail reform policy changes seen in Michigan House Bills 6455-6463.

Among other issues in the proposed bills, we were very concerned with the use of individualized risk assessment tools, which have be proven to exhibit racial bias despite claims that the algorithm does away with implicit bias. Additionally, the proposed bills dictate that cost savings from bail reform be redirected into the budgets of law enforcement, when there are a number of crucial services that money could be used for that would provide actual community safety. DJC is working with The Bail Project to continue to build momentum to pass expansive and comprehensive bail reform in 2020