Going through an arrest can be a scary thing, as the thought of spending even one night in jail is frightening for many people. Sometimes after being arrested you may be released on your own recognizance. However, most defendants are required to post bail.
New York’s bail reform, which implemented some changes in 2019, underwent more changes in 2020. There is some worry that the bail reform may be unfair and land more people behind bars.
Overburdened jails are a problem
On any day in the United States, approximately two-thirds of the people in jail are waiting to have their day in court. While many people are able to post the set sum and get released, the concept of bail is being rethought in some states with respect to certain crimes because there are many defendants who are financially not able to secure their release. In fact, you may end up waiting longer in jail to see a courtroom than the maximum length of the sentence should you be convicted.
Even short stays have consequences
Research has suggested that even spending a few days in jail makes someone more likely to commit crimes in the future. In addition, this situation has the potential to cause long-lasting harm to both you and your family. When you cannot post bail, while waiting in jail you might:
- Be terminated from your job
- Lose your apartment or home
- Be unable to pay child support
- Incur huge sums, if there was a car impounding as a result of your arrest
For these and many reasons, states like New York are reviewing whether or not to further overhaul the system of cash bail or even eliminate bail for more minor criminal offenses. More changes to current laws are possible in the near future.