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USA: "You're Still in Jail"

How Electronic Monitoring Is a Shackle on the Movement for Decarceration.

Despite the “law and order” vows of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, states and counties continue to take steps to reduce prison and jail populations.

Last month, Cook County, Illinois initiated its own special court dedicated to setting bond for people with felony cases. The mandate of the court is to set bond at a level the charged individual says they can afford. In California, meanwhile, the SB10 bail reform bill has passed the Senate and appears likely to become law in the coming year.

SB10 would greatly reduce the use of cash bail, freeing thousands of people currently awaiting trial. California is one of eight states currently considering such legislation. At the federal level, Senators Kamala Harris and Rand Paul have co-authored legislation that would provide incentives to states that implement bail reform.

Such efforts have been inspired by grassroots movements calling attention to the injustices of money bond, and have drawn funding and policy development support from nonprofits like the Pretrial Justice Institute and the MacArthur Foundation.

The main argument for bail reform is that people who are presumed innocent should not be kept in jail simply because they lack money for a cash bond.

Reformers contend that releasing people with no cash bond or an affordable bond will allow them to keep their jobs, hold onto their housing, carry out caregiving responsibilities and more effectively mount a legal defense.

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