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This country can't afford its own cash bail system.


People who are detained pending their trial are more likely to plead guilty rather than going to trial, they're also more likely to plead guilty earlier, and if they do plead guilty they're more likely to be sentenced to incarceration, and if they receive incarceration sentence, they tend to be sentenced to a longer term. If you reduce the number of people who are detained, chances are you're going to see fewer guilty pleas, fewer convictions and thus fewer sentences.

Criminal justice scholar Christine Scott-Hayward explains how the US bail and pretrial detention system punishes the poor and working class, commodifying freedom above the means of many people, feeding the mass incarceration apparatus and the private financial interests directing its aim.

Christine is author of Punishing Poverty: How Bail and Pretrial Detention Fuel Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System from the University of California Press.

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Christine Scott-Hayward

Christine S. Scott-Hayward is Associate Professor of Law, Criminology, and Criminal Justice at California State University, Long Beach.


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