Cashless Bail Under Attack
Cashless bail is yet again under attack at the State Capitol. We need your help. SB 504 is the latest and most egregious attempt to punish poor people by requiring cash bail for pretrial release. SB 504 would require judges to impose cash bail for every felony offense, even as those accused are entitled to the presumption of innocence. SB 504 will force poor people to remain in jail, while those with resources – charged with the exact same offenses – can purchase their release. This will also further exacerbate the current crisis of COVID-19 ravaging the lives of incarcerated people.
SB 504 has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee and could be heard as early as Tuesday, February 15, at 4 pm. If SB 504 passes, poor people will be forced to remain incarcerated while others similarly charged can go free, taxpayer dollars will be wasted, bail bond companies will see increased profits, and racial and wealth disparities in the state’s criminal legal systems will worsen.
Please contact the committee members in the list below and ask that they vote NO on SB 504. You can find our script and talking points below.
Phone calls are the best way to reach lawmakers right now, but if you aren’t able to call, you can save time and use the form below to send an email to all members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
|Vice Chairman||Bill Cowsert||404-463-1366|
“Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] [MENTION IF YOU ARE A CONSTITUENT]. I’m calling with a message for [NAME OF COMMITTEE MEMBER]. I’m calling to demand that the Senate Judiciary Committee vote NO on Senate Bill 504, which will rob elected judges of discretion, force burdensome costs on local governments, punish poor people, and not keep us any safer.
Pre-trial release should never be about financial resources and should instead address how to ensure accused people are able to return to court without causing harm to themselves or the public. SB 504 dangerously expands wealth-based detention by mandating that people who are similarly charged be treated differently based only on their access to financial resources. SB 504 allows privileged people to purchase their freedom even though studies have proven cash bail does not increase public safety.
Please vote NO on this harmful and discriminatory piece of legislation. Thank you.”
Other Talking Points
- SB 504 will force burdensome costs on cities and counties, which should not be forced to spend potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars jailing people unnecessarily.
- SB 504 criminalizes poverty because many poor people will be forced to stay in jail simply because they cannot pay for release, while others with money who are similarly charged walk free.
- SB 504 perpetuates profiteering because the bail bond industry will enjoy increased profits when judges are forced to impose financial conditions on additional offenses.
- SB 504 compromises public safety because people who can return to their jobs, families, and communities are less likely to be rearrested.
- SB 504 denies the presumption of innocence because bail only impacts people who have not been convicted of a crime and therefore should be treated as innocent until proven guilty.
- SB 504 will have racially-biased implementation because cash bail disproportionately punishes Black and Brown people – communities that disproportionately have less access to wealth as a result of systemic racism and generations of oppression and exploitation.
- SB 504 will also cause disproportionately harsher outcomes for Black and Brown incarcerated people because people who are detained pretrial are more likely to be sentenced to prison and for longer terms.