Bail is expensive for many people

New Orleans is a case example of a wider problem that is gripping the country. The United States is confronting a new issue in criminal justice. The United States, unlike most of the rest of the world, utilizes a for-profit system of bail. The bail system is facing increasing pressure from criminal justice reformers. The post will go over the bail system and how you can get caught up in it.

In New Orleans, the criminal justice system spent $6.4M detaining people who failed to pay fines and bills imposed on them by the court. The city collected $4.5M from those people who were levied fines. The result is that people are getting trapped in a cycle of fines and penalties that they cannot pay back. Once they fall behind on the payments, the court issues arrest warrants, and they are hauled into court by the bail bondsman.

Criminal justice reformers argue that bail for profit encourages the court and the industry it supports to levy heavy bails. Bail bondsman argues that it is cheaper for the government to utilize bail because they can do bring in defendants more efficiently and cheaper than the police. But the figure out of New Orleans and other cities illustrate that the bail system isn’t as cheap or efficient as the supporters argue.

If you were arrested, you should contact a defense lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges are only the beginning of the process. Even if you are facing minor charges, it could amount to thousands of dollars in bail. A lawyer can help you during the bail hearing to reduce or perhaps even eliminate the bail requirement. You don’t need to stay in jail while you fight these charges, a lawyer can help you.

Source: FiveThirtyEight, “ In New Orleans, Making Defendants Choose Bail or Jail Is Really Expensive,” Carl Bialik, January 10, 2016