Bail, incarceration, injustice, and unfairness / by kevin murray

In the United States there was over 10,500,000 arrests made in 2017.  All of those arrested, by definition, have had their freedom curtailed, for by the very nature of being arrested, as compared to being served with a summons or a ticket or its equivalency, they are no longer free to be about their business, whatsoever.  As bad as it is in being arrested, it gets so much worse for all those that are unable to post bail, of which, there is a significant portion of citizens of this great nation that simply do not have the monetary capital to make bail, even of relative trivial amounts, at all.  Additionally, most adult citizens have responsibilities that require them to work, to pick up and to care for their children, to pay bills, to pay rent, to pay insurance, and to pay their car note, of which, anyone, while arrested, will no longer be able to do those things, which because of their being arrested, could easily lead to the loss of a job, the loss of their children, the destruction of their credit, the eviction from their place of residence, and the re-possession of their vehicle.  This signifies, that getting arrested for over 10 million people each and every year, most definitely has massive repercussions, and those arrested, are actually by the very act of being arrested, often suffer the ill effects of a justice system oppressing them, despite their Constitutional presumed innocence.


The Sixth Amendment to our Constitution states in part, "…the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial…" in which, if this was actually the case, being arrested would not nearly be the oppressive burden that it is, but the reality of the situation is, that the justice system in America, is ponderingly slow, which is an extreme burden on all those that are unable to bail themselves out, and are awaiting their pending trial.  When it comes to bail, quite obviously for all those arrested, they strongly desire for a bail hearing that is speedy and to the point, and further is the type of bail hearing, that releases that person so arrested so that the person arrested can get back to the given norms of their life.  However, in fact, America often imposes a monetary amount of the bail that must be posted by the accused, in order to make bail, which, by definition, is a an unfair and undue burden upon all those that are indigent, and lacking in credit.


Additionally, as reported by, as written by Megan T. Stevenson "…that pretrial detention leads to a 13% increase in the likelihood of being convicted, an effect largely explained by an increase in guilty pleas among defendants who otherwise would have been acquitted or had their charges dropped. I find also that pretrial detention leads to a 42% increase in the length of the incarceration sentence and a 41% increase in the amount of nonbail court fees owed."  In other words, those unable to bail themselves out of jail have a higher chance of being convicted, along with suffering from a longer incarceration sentence, and an increase in court fees owed.  Further to the point, those that are unable to bail themselves out, are under an intense amount of pressure to plea bargain from a position of weakness in order to make the best deal that they are capable of, often without competent counsel to help them in making the best deal that can be made in a rather poor situation.  After all, those that are unable to bail themselves out, are imprisoned, so they are going to typically be desperate to cut some sort of deal, whereas all those that have been bailed out or didn't suffer having bail imposed upon them, can avail themselves of all the tools of the trade that being on the outside provides to them; in addition to the salient fact, that they can return to the normality of their life, and therefore continue as things were, pending the resolution of their case.


Therefore, it can be said, that bail, as currently constructed and implemented, in a country in which trials are almost never speedy, is an unfair and cruel burden placed upon the shoulders of all those that are impoverished and poor, which indicates in practice, that in this country, those that are poor, are basically for all intents and purposes, convicted at higher numbers primarily for being poor.