OPD's Criminalizing Poverty Blog
News and articles related to the criminalization of poverty. For more, please go to our "resources" page.
Senator Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California, and Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, co-sponsored the "Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act of 2017," which was introduced into Congress on July 20, 2017.
Chief Judge Timothy Evans of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois issued an order reforming bail and pretrial procedures in the county on July 17, 2017.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed An Act Concerning Pretrial Justice Reform into law on June 27, 2017, and it took effect on July 1, 2017.
The Gund Foundation issued a $24,000 grant to Cuyahoga County to support its effort to collect data on its jails.
United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas denied the efforts of Harris County, Texas officials to prevent the release of indigent misdemeanor defendants.
A recent report by the Prison Policy Initiative states that, compared with individuals not detained before trial, pretrial detainees are more likely to plead guilty, be convicted, or be sentenced to jail.
A recent analysis by The City of New York Independent Budget Office uncovered that New York City spends about $116 million per year on holding people in jail who are unable to pay bail before their trial.
The American Council of Chief Defenders, Gideon's Promise, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Association for Public Defense, and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association released a joint statement today that "strongly endorses and calls for the use of validated pretrial risk assessment in all jurisdictions, as a necessary component of a fair pretrial release system that reduces unnecessary detention and eliminates racial bias."
A federal judge in Texas has granted a preliminary injunction against Harris County’s bail system. Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal found that the system detains “indigent misdemeanor defendants who are otherwise eligible for release but are unable because of their poverty to pay a secured money bail.”
The Harris County Sheriff and a local judge both testified on behalf of the criminal defendants bringing a class-action suit against Harris County, Texas for its use of money bail.
"'When most of the people in my jail are there because they can’t afford to bond out, and when those people are disproportionately black and Hispanic, that’s not a rational system,' said Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, who was elected after the case was filed."
Read more here.