Washington, D.C. — Today, Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act of 2017, a bill to provide grants to States to reform their criminal justice system by discouraging and replacing the use of money bail as a condition of pretrial release in criminal cases. In response, Ed Chung, vice president for Criminal Justice Reform at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:
The Center for American Progress applauds Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) for their leadership on criminal justice reform through the introduction of the Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act of 2017. Currently, more than 450,000 people who have not been convicted of a crime remain in jail as they await resolution of their cases. This number is more than double the entire federal prison population. Many people stay locked up not because they are considered a high risk of flight or a danger to society but simply because they cannot afford to pay bail. The effects of these policies are often tragic and devastating, as exemplified by the deaths of Kalief Browder and Sandra Bland.
The bipartisan bill introduced today by Sens. Harris and Paul represents a big step toward reforming an unjust and ineffective part of the criminal justice system. The legislation provides significant resources to states to move their pretrial systems away from requiring a person to post bail in order to secure their release. It promotes evidenced-based practices such as using validated assessments that measure a person’s risk factors to determine their supervision conditions and the appointment of counsel to represent the person through impactful points in the criminal justice process. Sens. Harris and Paul should be commended for keeping alive the momentum to reform the criminal justice system toward a smarter and fairer approach and reverse policies that perpetuate mass incarceration.
Click here to read “Criminal justice reform starts before the trial and sentence” by Ed Chung, vice president of criminal justice reform at the Center for American Progress, with Marc Levin, policy director of Right on Crime and director of the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
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