The following is an excerpt from an article published on Bloomberg BNA by Jessica DaSilva…
Bail System Unfair, Former White House Counsel Says
“Municipalities and states need to move away from using a pretrial bail money system and court fines and fees as a source of government funding, according to former White House General Counsel W. Neil Eggleston.
Collecting bail in addition to fines and fees keeps poor defendants tethered to the criminal justice system well beyond their sentences, Eggleston said March 9. Eggleston made the keynote address at the American Bar Association’s Annual White Collar Crime conference in Miami Beach, Fla.
Having debt to the court affects not just defendants’ lives, but their families’ lives as well, he explained. It also creates an incentive for defendants to plead guilty so they can get out of jail sooner, he said…
…Bail, fines and fees create a two-tiered system where wealthier defendants—who can afford to pay the court—can move on from their crimes, but poorer defendants can’t, said two professors who study the impact of court-assessed money on defendants and the criminal justice system.
Although the current system should be overhauled, bail could be effective for a smaller subset of people, a professor who studies economics and criminal law said…”