A People’s Victory
On February 5, 2018, the Atlanta City Council unanimously passed a bail ordinance aimed at eliminating wealth-based detention at our city jail. The ordinance, which became effective on March 5, significantly limits the use of money bail in Atlanta and prohibits city court judges from detaining people only because they cannot pay for their pre-trial release in misdemeanor and ordinance violation cases. In enacting this ordinance, Atlanta follows cities like New Orleans, Nashville, and Chicago, all of which have moved away from wealth-based detention.
This new bail ordinance was the result of hard work by the Southern Center for Human Rights and many community lawyers, organizers, and activists, including: Mawuli Davis, Jon Rapping, Alec Karakatsanis, Tiffany Williams Roberts, Reverend Derick Rice, Southerners on New Ground (SONG), Miguel Dominguez, and many others. SCHR commends Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, the City Council, and the City Law Department for their commitment to improving fairness and equality in our city court system.