Criminal Justice & Bail Reform

Florida has a near epidemic of people being incarcerated for no other reason than being unable to post a bail.  The cost is staggering for most counties.  The principal of bail is simple and seems ideological.  Bail is meant to discourage people from fleeing trial or future hearings for whatever charges they may be facing.  However, simple and small bail amounts, even under $500, are often unable to met by the people charged with mostly misdemeanors, resulting in them being held in jail, losing their jobs, causing undue hardship on their families and thus a domino effect on other social services and programs.

As a result of the current guidelines and institutional operations of the criminal system in Florida, these people end up being held until trial at a huge cost (approx $140/day) in jail.  This is not only a social justice issue, it is a conservative values issue.  If someone cannot afford $500 bail, then how can they afford to flee a court hearing.  Not to mention, we have a system in place to deal with people that do not appear for court dates.

The ACLU and several Florida judges already recognize this problem and are lobbying for change.  As a future legislator, I want to push this through to empty the prisons of thousands of small offenders, shoplifters, etc, restore human rights and save perhaps hundreds of millions of tax dollars in processing and detention costs.

Great articles on the issue is here:

Florida Bar News

ACLU Bail Reform