Blacks Pay More to Get Out of Jail

As bail amounts have more than doubled in the last 20 years, a new study explores why bail is failing the African-American community.

Posted: 09/19/2012 02:24 PM EDT
Blacks Pay More to Get Out of Jail

The Justice Policy Institute has found that Blacks ages 18 to 29 pay more to get out of jail than Whites and Latinos annually. Over the last two decades, bail amounts have more than doubled from $39,800 in 1992 to $89,900 in 2006.

The report, entitled, “Bail Fail: Why the U.S. should end the practice of using money for bail,” says that “although a judicial officer may not give a high bail amount specifically because of a defendant’s race, the person may have had difficulty getting a job due to his race, and thus, was rated as a higher flight risk due to an unstable income.”

The Policy Institute claims that the option of bail doesn’t provide safer communities and should cease the practice of using money for bail.

The Sacramento Observer reported:

Blacks are held in jail at rate that’s almost five times greater than Whites. It is also harder for jailed defendants to plan an effective defense and jurors often associate jail uniforms and shackles with guilt.

“When a judge or judicial official sets the bail they’re looking at this person to determine how responsible they are going to be,” said Melissa Neal, author of “Bail Fail” and senior research associate at JPI. “If they’re wearing a jumpsuit they look harmful, if they’re disheveled, they look irresponsible.”

Read the full story here


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(Photo: Corbis)

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