This Devastating Practice Against the Poor Puts Thousands of Innocent People in Jail

Human rights activists believe the bail bond system prevents poor people from receiving adequate justice because they cannot afford it.

Many of these activists say the Cook County, Illinois jail is one of the biggest perpetrators that keeps poor people behind bars for not paying exorbitant bond fees. According to ABC 7 Chicago, a single Chicago mother has been waiting for justice for nearly two years.

It all began to spiral downward for Bianca Young when surveillance captured her getting into a car moments before an August 2014 shooting. The 25-year-old went to a nightclub with three men and a fight broke out. Gun fire erupted and one person died.

However, Young had no prior convictions and was charged with murder, attempted murder and disrupting the peace. A judge set her bond at $1 million and reduced it to $250,000. But she still could not afford it.

“I just want to go home and do better for myself,” Young tells reporters. “The judge, he knew I couldn’t pay that. I mean, thank you for the bond reduction, but where I come from we don’t have that type of money.”

ABC 7 Chicago reports that 92 percent of Cook County inmates have not been convicted of the crime they are charged with.

“And the majority of those people who are pre-trial, at least two-thirds of them have money bonds. So they would be eligible for release if they had sufficient money to pay those bonds. It means we are punishing people because they are poor,” Sharlyn Grace of Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice explains.

Now, Young’s attorneys have requested that she get a new trial and be acquitted of one of the felonies. She will appear in court next Monday.

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