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The Elimination of Cash Bail

WHEREAS, the NAACP seeks to ensure that no person accused of a crime is held in custody because he or she does not have access to capital; and 

WHEREAS, many state constitutions contain language that permits setting monetary bail as a condition of release for the purpose of securing future appearances and protecting the public. However, for almost 60 years, studies have shown that the rate at which those released on their own recognizance return for future hearings is the same as for those who pay to be released, proving the bail system is not effective; and

WHEREAS, many people who fail to appear after paying monetary bail do so because of a lack of transportation, support, and other resources, not because they attempted to flee and pretrial detention can lead to loss of employment, housing, and child custody because being in jail prevents people from tending to their daily living obligations, such as working, paying bills or caring for their children; and

WHEREAS, people of color are more likely to be victimized by a monetary bail requirement because the poverty rate is much higher for minority populations, particularly Blacks and Latinos. Many pretrial detainees are likely to either plead guilty or accept a harsher penalty because pretrial detention hinders a defendant's ability to meet with their lawyer, gather evidence and formulate a defense; and

WHEREAS, some states have begun attempts to reform their cash bail systems, but there is a large degree of inconsistency both in the method and application of reformation policies.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls for the elimination of cash bail and monitoring fees, and for the purposes of cash bail to be satisfied through more appropriate means, such as home incarceration, which allows defendants to work, attend medical appointments and religious ceremonies, care for children, and contribute to their defense more meaningfully.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls for the creation of oversight boards in respective states to be tasked with collecting quarterly data at the county level regarding pretrial release and detention rates, electronic monitoring release, demographics for pretrial detention and electronic monitoring groups, failures to appear, and re-arrest rates for those granted pretrial release.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP will deliver this resolution to federal and state legislators and associations of public defenders and prosecutors.