In the wake of tragedy in the NY jail system, the media has been swarming with stories about bail reform. The impetus for this discussion is the suicide of Kalief Browder, who spent 3 years in jail, without conviction, while awaiting trial. Granted this is an unacceptable tragedy, but the issue lies not in bail, but within the corrections department and with the judges determine the trial dates and course of the court proceedings.
CRUEL AND UNUSUAL
Kalief was arrested in 2010 for assault and stealing a backpack. He was released three years later, when the charges were finally dropped. During those three years, Kalief was subjected to the horrible conditions at the notorious Rikers Island Prison, and he spent a large duration of that time in solitary confinement. Upon release, he struggled with assimilation and suffered with deteriorating mental health. Sadly, Kalief took his life on June, 6 2015.
CELEBRITY CAUSE AND MEDIA BAIT
Kalief’s story received a lot of attention recently, with many, including celebrities, clamoring for reform. However, the issue is becoming muddled as a “bail” issue, because his family couldn’t afford the $3,000 bond. As a result, many are up in arms arguing that the bail system is unfair. However, few are clamoring that the judges were harsh and unyielding or that the entire prison system needs reform. His inability to pay the bond amount is nothing compared to the beatings, solitary confinement, and the denial of a fair and speedy trial.
Focusing on the bail issue is looking at the finger of a hand pointing at the moon. Furthermore, the way NY is offering to eliminate bail puts a large burden on the tax payers, making them responsible if a person skips court. Certainly, reform is essential, but so is bail, and the larger issue is the inexcusable amount of time Kalief spent before trial and his treatment during that time. How do you feel about the system? About Los Angeles bail bonds? And don’t forget, we’re here if you need us.
October 13, 2015 / Ryan Serey