This week the ACLU of North Carolina kicked off its campaign to end cash bail .
Regular Policy Watch readers have seen our coverage of the inequities of the cash bail system and the for-profit bail bond industry. You should also take the time to read the ACLU and Color of Change report “Selling Off Our Freedom: How insurance corporations have taken over our bail system.”
It’s an excellent companion read to this week’s edition of our Monday Numbers feature, which focuses on the causes and effects of mass incarceration.
Among the many illuminating stories, charts and figures in the report is this graphic on political contributions by the bail industry by state:
The report also looks at the problem at a federal level:
Though most political activity by bail insurers, corporations, and their associations has occurred at the state and local levels, for profit bail hasn’t ignored federal legislators.
Over five years, from 2011 through 2016, the industry funded $500,000 in contributions to federal candidates or committees. In return, Representative Ted Poe (R-TX) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) have introduced a federal version of the ABC/ ALEC anti-pretrial services legislation. And congressional opposition has surfaced to fight efforts to eliminate money bail—most notably, the No Money Bail Act, introduced by Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA), which would make states with money bail systems ineligible for certain federal law enforcement funding.
With a new federal administration and attorney general unlikely to challenge the constitutionality of certain money bail practices, the industry may shift its attention to influencing federal legislators and regulators to protect its profits.
Read the full report here.