In America, cash bail has slowly turned into a form of income-based injustice. Fortunately, organizations like the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund directed by Peter Goldberg, are working to rectify this wrong. In the video, Peter talks about how he thinks bail should be abolished especially for petty, low-level, non-violent offences like theft of diapers, sneakers, and bars of soap.
The Brooklyn Community Bail Fund is standing in as a bondsman and helping low-income defendants steer clear of the potentially permanent damage from pretrial incarceration. For instance, victims of unnecessary victims have to deal with negative effects such as lost jobs, missed childcare and health issues.
Initially, cash bail was intended to encourage defendants to pitch up at court hearings. It is a practice that is supposed to reinforce the fact that people are innocent until proven guilty; hence they should remain free unless they are considered a flight risk or a danger to the community. However, this concept has become socially biased. Those who can afford to pay bail simply head home while the poor and less privileged languish for extended periods in less than ideal remand conditions.
Statistics show that 75% of the pretrial detainees are imprisoned because they can’t afford bail. Of those 75%, only 8% are accused of serious crimes. So far, the Brooklyn Community Fund has managed to pay bail for 1800 people. One of the individuals helped by the charity organization is a young man who had been accused of stealing snickers from his foster brother. He was held for 24 hours, with his bail set at $500. He could not afford bail, and if the Community Fund had not intervened, he would likely have been sent to a remand prison. There he would either be detained until trial or plead guilty just so he could be sent home.
The Brooklyn Community Bail Fund is not only helping to post bail for the underprivileged; the organization is also advocating for the abolishment of bail for individuals accused of petty crimes. This issue is becoming a national debate, as many other organizations are also fighting to rectify this injustice. The evidence available currently indicates that most of the individuals that have bail paid for them come back to trial anyways. Most of them have no warrant history, and they have strong community ties. Therefore, in those cases, bail is only serving as a barrier to justice.
Interested parties can contribute to the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund and help release more people who are behind bars just because they are unable to buy their freedom.