Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, has come out recently to launch a “No Money Bail Act” that would eliminated cash bail at the national level. The introduction of the bill comes ahead of a broader congressional vote on criminal justice reform.
The “First Step Act” didn’t address cash bail, instead focusing on equal sentencing for crack and cocaine offenses, reduce mandatory minimums, and credit well-behaved inmates with an eye toward early release.
Since cash bail wasn’t addressed, Gillibrand introduced the new bill, which has broad support from a variety of Democratic senators, including Bernie Sanders.
Gillibrand noted in a statement:
There are thousands of New Yorkers sitting in jail right now simply because they cannot pay their bail. We should not be locking people up just because they don’t have the financial means to afford their bail.
Seemingly most offensive to most supporters is the notion that the bail industry brings in nearly $2 billion per year, though it’s difficult to say how much of an issue this would be if it didn’t involve a large swath of the politicians’ constituencies.