Report: Cash Bail Discriminates Against Low-Income, BIPOC Michiganders
Thursday, November 18, 2021
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- A new report finds stark disparities in the impacts of cash bail in Michigan, which disproportionately keeps low-income residents and Michiganders of color in jail.
The study, from the Michigan League for Public Policy, noted it is common practice in Michigan to require people who've been arrested but are awaiting trial to put up cash in exchange for their temporary release.
Peter Ruark, senior policy analyst for the League and the report's author, said when people are unable to pay their bail, it can have major consequences.
"That creates hardship for families," Ruark outlined. "It can cause people to lose their jobs. It can complicate relations with relatives."
Nationally, the report said the median income for people unable to post bail is about $15,000 a year. And median bond amounts are roughly $10,000 higher for Black defendants than for their white counterparts.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a package of bills to reform the cash-bail system, and Ruark pointed out most of the opposition comes from the cash-bail industry itself.
Eli Savit, Washtenaw County prosecutor, took office in January and stopped seeking cash bail. He said judges and magistrates still can impose it, but his office aims to impose non-monetary conditions for releasing people pretrial instead.
He argued it should not matter what your bank account looks like, but what you have been arrested for, and if you pose a threat to the community.
"Getting rid of cash bail does not mean that we're opening up the jailhouse doors and letting everybody free," Savit explained. "It means that the decision about whether you need to stay in jail before trial, before you've been convicted, is based on what you're accused of doing and the danger that you pose, not based on how much money you have."
The report also noted extended jail stays due to inability to post bail can severely impact people's mental health. National data during the 2010s showed more than 70% of people who died by suicide in jail were not convicted with a crime at the time of their death.
get more stories like this via email
Nevada is set to lose 8% of its Colorado River water allotment next year because of perilously low water levels at Lakes Mead and Powell caused by a 2…
Although President Joe Biden has signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, many are hoping he will declare a climate emergency to provide further …
The Bureau of Land Management is kicking off its planning process for managing Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument with several public hearing…
The midterm elections are less than three months away, and in Iowa, recruiting continues for those interested in helping at polling sites, where the …
As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis defends and expands his call to have military veterans bypass the teacher certification process to become educators…
President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law Tuesday, providing a means for making prescription drug prices more affordable in the …
Health and Wellness
A relatively new virus known as monkeypox has made its way to the state of Washington. About 280 cases have been reported, with 240 occurring in King …
Health and Wellness
Coloradans struggling economically put their health at risk when they decide not to turn on cooling systems, frequently out of fear of not being able …