Now if they could work on that whole "speedy trial" thing.
New legislation encourages states to end discriminatory 'money bail' practice
Senators Rand Paul and Kamala Harris are cosponsoring legislation released Thursday that would incentivize states to reform their systems of “money bail”, which keeps defendants awaiting trial in jail unless they pay for their release.
“In our country, whether you stay in jail or not is wholly determined by whether you’re wealthy or not – and that’s wrong,” Harris said in a statement.
“We must come together to reform a bail system that is discriminatory, wasteful and fails to keep our communities safe.”
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“Americans should be able to expect fair and equal treatment under the law regardless of how much money is in their pockets or how many connections they have,” said Paul.
The bipartisan legislation comes at something of a crossroads for the practice of money bail.
On the one hand, bail reform is rapidly gaining momentum as a number of states across the nation, including New Mexico, New Jersey and Maryland are taking or have taken steps to end its use, often with bipartisan support.
On the other, attorney general Jeff Sessions is an outspoken critic of reforming money bail, and has taken steps to walk back the previous administration’s support for reforming the system.
The Harris-Paul legislation would incentivize states to reform or replace the practice by offering funding for initiatives that would move to a risk-assessment based strategy for determining the likelihood of a defendant returning for court or committing a new crime, rather than a wealth-based one.
The bill specifies that any conditions placed on a defendant’s release “should be based on the least restrictive, non-financial conditions that a judicial officer determines is necessary”.