Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Zugzwang
    Joined
    08 Jun '07
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    2120
    30 Aug '17 20:141 edit
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/30/new-jersey-bail-reform-criminal-justice-bond-money

    "TV made America's bail system famous. Now reformers want to end it
    Bail money has trapped poor Americans for decades.
    But bondsmen are hitting back at attempts to reform the system."

    "For most poor and working-class Americans who get sucked into the
    wastes of the criminal justice system, that’s how this process goes.
    Long before a conviction, those accused routinely have to make the choice
    between hawking possessions and begging relatives to pay their way out of jail,
    or submitting to the indignities of life behind bars to await their day in court."

    "Since bail money is really just a placeholder, once the accused shows
    up for trial, it is refunded in full. But that’s not the full story.
    Enter the private bail-bonds system, a convoluted free-market mutation
    of the bail scheme that today only operates in the US and the Philippines.

    If a defendant cannot afford to pay their bail in full, they can go to a bail
    bondsman, a private business that will post “bond” to the court on their
    behalf, charging the defendant a non-refundable premium – typically
    10% of the bail amount – for the service.

    In short, the wealthy get their bail money back even if they are found guilty,
    so long as they show up in court. But poor people lose their bond premiums for ever.

    In addition, many bondsmen allow defendants to pay only a proportion of the
    bond premium upfront, lending them the rest at usurious interest rates, when legally allowed.

    This has the effect of both plunging the defendant into debt and allowing
    someone out of jail for a tiny fraction of their original bail, undermining
    the argument that having to pay bail ensures a defendant will turn up to court."

    "In circumventing the bondsmen, the state has essentially removed two
    things from the equation: the profit motive and the “gut feeling” that
    bondsmen often operate on, instead substituting the algorithmic logic of
    computerized “risk assessment” tools.

    It’s possible these types of tools may be unintentionally predisposed to
    racial bias due to inherent inequalities in the criminal justice system and society.
    Minorities and people of color are less likely to have access to wealth
    and more likely to have a record of frivolous arrests which will tend to
    drive up their risk scores compared with white people.

    But the tendency to discriminate against the poor is much more acute in
    a system that relies entirely on the exchange of money for freedom."
  2. Standard memberfinnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
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    30 Aug '17 20:20
    http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/9-surprising-industries-profiting-handsomely-americas-insane-prison-system

    According to research by the ACLU and the Nation, the bail industry now pulls in $2 billion in revenue annually. They described the practices of bail bondsmen like Eric Amparan, who keeps 10% of a bail amount as a non-refundable fee even if the person is found innocent. The higher the bail amounts set by judges, the more bail bondsmen stand to make—and Prison Profiteers reported that between 2002 and 2011, the American Bail Coalition (a lobbying group for the bail industry) spent $3.1 million lobbying for judges to set higher bail amounts. Prison Profiteers also noted that average bail amounts increased substantially with the growth of the prison-industrial complex, going from $39,800 in 1992 (the year ABC was founded) to $89,900 in 2006.
  3. Standard memberfinnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    To the Left
    Joined
    25 Jun '06
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    64930
    30 Aug '17 20:25
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/30/new-jersey-bail-reform-criminal-justice-bond-money

    "TV made America's bail system famous. Now reformers want to end it
    Bail money has trapped poor Americans for decades.
    But bondsmen are hitting back at attempts to reform the system."

    "For most poor and working-class Americans who get sucked into th ...[text shortened]... oor is much more acute in
    a system that relies entirely on the exchange of money for freedom."
    It’s possible these types of tools may be unintentionally predisposed to racial bias

    Maybe so but it is far more likely to be intentional since the entire criminal and prison system is comprehensively racist by design through every step of the process. The USA has racialised poverty - again by design. It is fundamental to the way inequality is organised there.

    I hope someone wants to disagree so we can work through the copious supporting evidence until they weep.