At the moment, there are over 730,000 people nationwide locked up in local jails, most of whom are non-violent offenders who don’t have the means to post bail. The actual number of violent crimes is steadily declining, even cut to half in the past two decades, but the number of people being admitted to jails have doubled during the same period.
Generally, convicts will be sent to prison to carry out their sentences, while those awaiting their own hearing or trial are sent to jail. Currently, there are over 231 people sent to jail for every 100,000 US residents, and some of them will resort to pleading guilty just to have a shorter sentence and get back to their lives as soon as they can.
Aftermath of Jail
In New York City, a man named Miguel Padilla found himself in jail after driving with a suspended license. To get him out of New York City’s Rikers Island, his fiancée did everything to get the $1,000 cash bail needed, to no avail. Padilla pleaded guilty to the charge to get a shorter sentence and to be free as fast as possible. He spent a total of five days behind bars. After getting out of jail, however, he found himself jobless and at risk of not finding a job because of his new criminal record.
More People, Longer Days
According to a recent study by the Vera Institute of Justice, there is a steady increase in the number of people finding their way into jail because they can’t afford the bail amount set by the court. These people are increasingly spending more days behind bars, reaching up to 23 days. Three-quarters of them are spending these long days in jail either because of nonviolent crimes, or they are simply too poor to afford bail.
“We are punishing people for their poverty,” said Nick Turner, executive director of the Vera Institute. Not only are they facing problems due to their inability to post bail, but they’re also looking into a bleak future after a loss of income and a criminal record. Los Angeles residents can avoid this with the help of Los Angeles bail bonds professionals like those at Jrs Bail Bond, who are committed to serve the underprivileged.
Securing bail bonds in Los Angeles may involve costs, but dedicated agents can help those charged find the means to pay these costs. In the process, these agents are also helping those who may have unwittingly found themselves at brush with the law get on with their lives as painlessly as possible.
Are America’s jails used to punish poor people?, CBS Money Watch, February 11, 2015
Four Ways Cities Can Make Jails Fairer to the Poor—and Save Money, Yahoo! News, May 13, 2015