A new UCLA report finds that thousands in LA jails are “too poor to pay the price for freedom.”
A new report shows how the use of money bail in the city of Los Angeles has spawned a massive industry built on the backs of poor communities of color.
The report, released Monday by UCLA’s Million Dollar Hoods Research team, which conducts data mapping projects about the Los Angeles jail system, found that from 2012 to 2016, more than $19 billion in cash bail was levied against people arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department. (According to researchers, the $19 billion figure only reflects what was set during LAPD bookings and does not include adjustments later made by courts.) The researchers concluded that “city residents pay a steep price before their innocence or guilt has been determined,” making the Los Angeles jail system — one of the country’s largest — a significant driver of inequality.
The report notes that the amount of bail levied disproportionately fell onto low-income blacks and Latinos. “This is an extraordinary amount of wealth taken primarily from low-income, communities of color,” Kelly Lytle Hernandez, the interim director of UCLA’s African American Studies department and one of the authors of the report, said in a statement.
Money bail requires payment for freedom, a costly burden for poor people of color
Typically, a person charged cash bail has two options: forego payment and stay in jail until their matter is resolved in court, or enter into a contract with a bail bond company to avoid jail time while waiting to be arraigned. If the person chooses release on a bond contract, a bail bond agent promises to pay the full amount should the accused fail to appear in court. In exchange for this, bail bond companies require the Read More Here