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Skip navigation Whether or not you are in jail should not depend on your ability to pay for your freedom. Yet that’s the way our current money bail system works.

It is one of the most corrupt and broken parts of our justice system.Close to half a million people are in jail today awaiting trial, many of them incarcerated because they are too poor to afford cash bail. The time has come to abolish this system.

The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is launching a nationwide campaign today to end this injustice of wealth-based incarceration, deploying all of our tools from our nationwide state affiliate structure to our strategic litigation, communication, and legislative advocacy to support bail reform movements and our partners in states across the country. The original purpose of bail was to serve as an incentive to return to court when a person is arrested, released, and their case proceeds.

However, the current money bail system has little to do with this original intent. Rather it has mutated into a way to separate people who have money from those who don’t.

People with money can almost always buy their way to freedom, regardless of the charges against them. Yet people without access to cash too often end up in jail simply because they cannot afford bail, or alternatively they must take out loans from bail companies that charge exorbitant fees.

Even though you are presumed innocent in the eyes of the law, if you can’t afford cash bail, you will end up in jail for weeks, months, or, in some cases, years as you wait for your day in court. This wealth-based incarceration disproportionately punishes and targets Black people and other people of color as well as people from economically disadvantaged communities. Read more from aclu.org…

thumbnail courtesy of aclu.org