Posted March 22, 2018 by Mark Hauser
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced recently that prosecutors would no longer seek cash bail for people accused of some misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies, a significant policy shift that could have a wide-ranging impact on the city’s criminal justice system. Krasner said the practice of holding suspects in jail until trial just because they don’t have money to pay for their release is “simply not fair.”
In Philadelphia, about 20 percent of the 6,100 people in city jails were being held because they had not posted money to meet their cash bail requirements and it is now estimated as many as 4,000 cases per year — about 10 percent of the office’s total caseload — now could result in a defendant being released instead of sitting in jail for failure to pay.
Krasner’s announcement does not end cash bail altogether. His office will still seek to jail suspects accused of violent crimes including aggravated assault, rape, and murder. And prosecutors still may seek cash bail for nonviolent crimes depending on the circumstances and a defendant’s criminal record.