Pretrial Reform Task Force Results and Recommendations.
The Pretrial Reform Task Force was convened by the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission, the Superior Court Judges’ Association, and the District and Municipal Court Judges’ Association in June 2017.
The Task Force examined current pretrial practices in Washington and developed consensus-driven recommendations for jurisdictions to improve their pretrial decisions, including bail. Task Force results and recommendations are published in the PretrialReformTaskForceReport.
Fact – Incarceration in the US is epidemic. We imprison more people per capita and more people overall than any other developed country on the planet.
“Since the official beginning of the War on Drugs in 1982, the number of people incarcerated for drug offenses in the U.S. skyrocketed from 40,900 in 1980 to 450,345 in 2016.” see The Sentencing Project https://www.sentencingproject.org/criminal-justice-facts/
County jails are virtually filled with people awaiting trial. Most of those are in jail because they cannot pay cash bail. Most are low risk of flight. Many are poor. Most have been to trial or been convicted. ,
Fact – money paid to a bail bondsman is never returned to the accused, even with a case dismissed or finding of innocence.
What you can do
Educate – There are extensive studies exploring the justice dimensions of the Bail Bond system. Some of the more informative studies include:
- Encourage study groups at UU congregations to discern best practices in criminal justice reform.
- Encourage our Senators and Representatives to sponsor a bill that will correct this racist, poverty driven practice in Washington.
- Create dialog with county prosecutors to discuss and understand the Bail Bond system.
- Host neighborhood and community forums that raise awareness of the Bail Bond system.
- Request our ministers to address how UU values fit with the Bail Bond system.
- We have allies in this effort! Coordinate with other faith community members to raise this Bail Bond issue via panels, forums, and demonstrations of conscience.
- Support legal efforts to abolish Bail Bonds and replace them with more equitable and effective systems.