By Lauren C. Williams
Jailing people before they are tried in court because they can’t afford bail is unconstitutional, according to federal appeals court documents the Justice Department filed Thursday.
The filings mark the first time the agency has openly criticized the bail industry. In its amicus brief, the Justice Department wrote, “Bail practices that incarcerate indigent individuals before trial solely because of their inability to pay for their release violate the Fourteenth Amendment” and “result in the unnecessary incarceration of numerous individuals who are presumed innocent.”
“Bail practices that incarcerate indigent individuals before trial solely because of their inability to pay for their release violate the Fourteenth Amendment.”
The agency’s comments follow its indictment of the private prison industry mandating their closure due to their high rates of corruption and excessive force. The DOJ’s brief Thursday seems to bolster the Obama administration’s objective of improving prison practices that often disproportionately affect minorities.
Read More: Poor People Can’t Be Jailed For Not Being Able To Pay Bail, Justice Department Says — ThinkProgress