WASHINGTON — The ACLU announced its support of the No Money Bail Act, introduced today by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). This bill serves as the Senate companion to H.R. 1437, the No Money Bail Act, introduced by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) in the House and reflects continued efforts in the Congress to eliminate money bail systems.
The No Money Bail Act bans the use of cash bail at the federal level and incentivizes states to end their money bail systems.
Kanya Bennett, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, had the following response:
“On any given day, close to half a million people are in jail before trial, many because they can’t afford cash bail. It criminalizes poverty, disproportionately impacts people of color, and entrenches thousands of Americans in an unjust and unfair system. The only winners of the cash bail system are bail agents and their insurance backers who profit between one to two billion dollars a year.
“Ending cash bail is essential to reforming our broken criminal justice system, which is why the ACLU is glad to see another bail reform bill introduced in the Congress. By requiring and incentivizing alternative pretrial practices, and ensuring that we better understand the impact of cash bail and pretrial detention on communities of color and other marginalized people, the No Money Bail Act is an essential step forward. We encourage all senators who believe in systemic criminal justice reform to support federal efforts around bail reform.”