A case study in fear and science denial
Mr. Karakatsanis, I appreciate your continued advocacy on the subject of the inequities within the bail system and how the media is manipulated (and manipulates). Whether it is $500 or $5,000 or any amount, we continue to see how working people and the poor face greater costs in all our society's institutions than those who have more resources at their disposal. The day after your appearance on "The Daily Show," I read your book "Usual Cruelty" in one sitting the next day. Thank you for a well-written, candid look at how we cage people in this country.
Another facet we don't hear about much is that while people are losing their jobs, losing their families, and losing their homes awaiting trial in county jails - about one-third of the county jails in the United States charge daily room and board fees. This can be as little as $1 per day up to over $100, depending upon the county. If a person pleads guilty or are convicted in Iowa (for example), they are required to pay and "failure to do so may result in the Sheriff filing a Claim for Reimbursement with the Court. The Court will approve the claim without hearing, and once approved the claim will have the effect of a judgment for the purpose of enforcement." This may also be considered a violation of probation/parole - in many jurisdictions, it is up to the discretion of the supervising officer. And, of course, the excuse is that if a person does the crime, they should be the one to pay for their jail time. Moving this cost to those least able to afford and to a smaller population pool, this reduces the public citizenry's realization of the actual costs of caging people simply because the system can while increasing greater pressure to return to old habits in order to pay their feels from those attempting to move forward with their lives.
Hello Alec, I learn so much from reading your articles. You must feel frustration at times but your work and that of the Civil Rights Corp. shines through. Your deep respect for individuals and their basic rights is so evident in everything you write. Thank you.
Your analysis is (IMHO) always pretty spot-on, and of course, this post is one I have been waiting for. The reversal of any progress we collectively made over the last decade is being wiped out, and new research reports that literally say the SAME THINGS we have had data to prove for decades bring me to a level of pessimism that's nearly paralyzing. The recent ABA article "has the third wave of bail reform been a failure?" made me sick. Thank you for this post and all your others - I know our echo chamber appreciates it, but more-so, I hope we can figure out a way to (once again?) get some people with power to pay attention/do something. I'm grateful for your existence and persistence, and of course, your intellect and communication skills. Thanks Alec.
Let us all acknolwedge, it is mostly older, more conservative people watching and reading these irresponsible and damaging news stories. Media is a business; they need to get views, readers, and interactions. They flood the airwaves with these false, horribly false and fearmongering items, only to sell more ad-time.
Another problem is local-news syndicates. Sinclair Media--based in Texas--is one horrible syndicate that operates many, many local news broadcasts including my local CBS 6 news here in the capital region of New York. These broadcasts are often if not always sponsored by a local Benevolent Association, read cops and corrections. The right (read; fascist) is so embedded in our society, it will all but take a miracle or the Democratic party's revolutionizing itself before the prison industrial complex agenda begins to be rolled back.
As always, brilliant reporting and investigative work. I know you do not do it alone, and we all have a lot of Orgs to thank. But you are the best civil rights lawyer/investigative journalist I've ever come across. Godspeed!
Excellent article as always. Thank you for making me smarter. The question is, how do we get the media to change?
Thank you for again talking about a criminal justice inequality It would be nice if the media reported based on substantiated data and facts but they prefer to sensationalize based on their own bias. The bail system is another form of punishment that perpetuates systemic racism and poverty. Too often children are the collateral damage of parents in jail or prison. Tax payers should be made aware of the absurdities, waste, and collateral that results. I prefer transparency and evidence based reporting not biased and one-sided. Sometimes I feel like Sisyphus while trying to change the criminal justice system. Thank you for your professionalism and advocacy for the justice-involved and their families.
When you look at arrest logs, at least in my area, you see that the majority of them are probation violations. It’s a vicious circle. Force people who cannot afford bail to plead guilty, give them probation, arrest them for probation violation, and stoke fear in people that crime is on the rise.