Cash bail is a flawed, disastrous system and needs to end immediately — but don’t take it from us, listen to this public defender.
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According to public defender Scott Hechinger, the cash bail system is a national crisis that needs to end. Judges decide whether to hold suspects and what to set their bail at based solely on allegations and criminal history, with no regard for who that individual is and their financial circumstances. Hechinger says that 87% of his clients can’t afford bail. 500,000 people are detained pretrial only because they can’t afford to buy their freedom. Bail is supposed to be a incentive not a punishment. As long as you come back to court on your court dates, you get the money back. One of Hechinger’s clients was held on Rikers Island for 9 months because he couldn’t afford $7,500 bail.
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