Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fix the Broken Bail Bond System

By Timothy Murray

Every day in America, half a million people sit in local jails awaiting trial. They are there because they can’t afford to make bail. Two of every three of these people are charged with nonviolent offenses and are simply waiting to face their accusers.

Meanwhile, well-publicized and well-off defendants like former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn can make bail easily, no matter how high, and are released before court action. In effect, they have purchased their freedom until their trial begins.

The cost to local taxpayers to feed and house those who can’t make bail is $9 billion a year. We could save those dollars, ease prison overcrowding and bring more justice to the entire system with some relatively simple reforms.

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