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How Cash Bail Robs People of Their Dignity and Resources

4/15/2021Press Release

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A NEW EDUCATIONAL VIDEO SHOWS IN LESS THAN 2 MINUTES HOW CASH BAIL PUNISHES THE POOR LONG BEFORE THEIR DAY IN COURT.

Baton Rouge, LA (April 15, 2021)—Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, in partnership with the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition and the Fair Fight Initiative, has produced a new educational video capturing how cash bail punishes people in Baton Rouge long before they’re found guilty of a crime.

Of the more than 1,400 people incarcerated in the Baton Rouge jail, 80 percent have not been convicted. Many of these people—disproportionately from Black and Brown communities—have been denied their freedom and risk losing their jobs, homes, and even custody of their children while imprisoned pretrial, simply because they can’t afford to pay their bail.

The most commonly set bail in Baton Rouge is around $50,000, nearly double the per capita income in the parish, but even much smaller bonds can prove prohibitively expensive and unjustly criminalize poverty. Most Americans, in fact, wouldn’t have enough in savings to pay for an unexpected $1,000 expense in cash, and this wealth gap has only grown more pronounced during the pandemic.

So why should your bank account determine what type of ‘justice’ you receive?

“Cash bail has demonstrated for decades what systemic racism looks like,