Trials and Arbitration

Study: Money bail system disproportionately impacts poor, black communities

Study: Money bail system disproportionately impacts poor, black communities

The image of overcrowded jails packed with defendants awaiting trial is easy to conjure. But the other side of the picture—those who manage, often just barely, to pay for their freedom in cash, is a less tangible image marked by a tedious web of contracts, payment plans, and debt.

In an effort to quantify this side of the pretrial experience, the Maryland Office of the Public Defender this week published the report "The High Cost of Bail: How Maryland's Reliance on Money Bail Jails the Poor and Costs the Community Millions," with new numbers drawing striking conclusions about the impact of bail bonds and whose money fuels the bail industry.

The findings, as...

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