ACTION ALERT: How the Global Bail Bond Industry Wages War on Poor Families
May 15, 2017 Color of Change & teleSUR
Today is Mother's Day. But many Black mothers, who are too poor to pay for their own freedom, are locked up in jails unable to be with their loved ones. The money bail system hurts families and traps communities in debt and poverty by jailing poor Black people. But there is something that is less visible: there are just a few bail bond companies at the top making millions of dollars every year from preying on the poor. California now is on the verge of passing legislation to overhaul the money bail system.
ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress:
Put People Over Bail Industry Profits! Color of Change
(May 14, 2017) -- Today is Mother's Day. But many Black mothers, who are too poor to pay for their own freedom, are locked up in jails unable to be with their loved ones. That is why many activists and grassroots organizations across the country, like our partner Essie Justice Group in California, are working hard raise money to bail out as many Black mothers as they can so they are home safe and happy with their families.
This group of powerful Black women is fighting for incarcerated people and their loved ones. And they are taking it a step further by leading the fight to end the money bail system in California.
California is on the verge of passing key legislation that would overhaul the money bail system. So far over 25,000 Color of Change members have joined in to demand California legislators take action to end the money bail system.
Just this week, Color of Change and the ACLU released an important report, "Selling Off Freedom," exposing the profiteers of the bail industry. It reveals what we already know -- the money bail system hurts families and traps our communities further into debt and poverty by jailing poor Black people. But it also reveals what most people don't: there are just a few companies at the top making millions of dollars in profit every year from preying on these families.
We must end this vicious system that earns its profit by jailing people simply because they are too poor. We can transform this system. It starts with demanding California legislators to reform the bail system.
Let's bring our Black mamas home today and #EndMoneyBail for good,
Scott Roberts, and the rest of the Color of Change Team. Bail Reform Is Bad News for
Dog the Bounty Hunter Chapman
California is on the brink of passing landmark criminal justice reform that would end the cruel cycle of incarceration and bail debt for thousands of families. But corporate bail profiteers and the Trump coalition are pulling out all the stops trying to kill it.
At a recent bail reform hearing, our partner, Essie Justice Group -- a powerful organization that harnesses the power of women with incarcerated loved ones to end mass incarceration -- came to tell their stories and push for bail reform. The bail industry was also there -- represented by a troubling coalition.
Known-racist and proud Trump supporter Dog the Bounty Hunter was their celebrity guest and they even tried to pass off the leader of 'Blacks for Trump' -- a bail bondsman herself -- as representing the interest of the Black community.
Essie Justice Group's members' response to being confronted by overt racism from people desperately trying to hold on to their share of the incarceration business is to fight back by calling on Black communities and our allies to send a clear message that we demand an end to this corrupt and racist system.
Join us in standing with the thousands of Black women and families in California harmed by the corrupt and racist system of money bail.
The bail bond industry makes billions exploiting poor Black people and they don't hesitate to criminalize our communities to keep the money flowing. Like Donald Trump and so many 'Law & Order' politicians, the industry employs scare tactics about mythical crime waves and 'Law & Order' talk to protect their profit margins.
It's no surprise then that they would bring Dog the Bounty Hunter Chapman, who lost his television show after a recording of him going on an N-word filled rant forbidding his son from dating a Black woman, to represent them.
What they really represent is the vile agenda to reverse the national trend toward bringing down incarceration rates in order to protect a system that criminalizes communities of color for profit. He should be nowhere near any conversation about reform.
The real experts on California's criminal justice system are the women and families that have been impacted by it. They know that too many people are trapped in jail, awaiting trial because they cannot afford to buy their way out.
They know that whether guilty or innocent, a single arrest could lead to long jail stays and long-term bail debt. They know that families can lose their homes, jobs and even be broken apart because California operates a system that locks people up if they can't afford to pay.
Demand California put people over profits and reform the bail system.
Black women and low-income women bear the brunt of the vicious bail bond industry. Women become trapped in debt and are forced to make the difficult decision of paying for basic needs for their families and paying off a bail to a for-profit bail bond company.1 Others, like Sandra Bland, have died in jail while waiting to make bail.
This has gone on long enough and we can't let frauds who hate Black people block progress in a state like California. Instead, if we can push this reform over the finish line, we can build momentum to defeat the industry for good. Ending the money bail system in a state like California will be a huge turning point for other states to follow suit.
Every year, millions of people are condemned to cages and separated from their families simply because they cannot afford to pay bail after an arrest.
This country's justice system claims to treat people as if they are innocent until proven guilty but the reality is that before even being convicted of a crime, the accused and their families are forced to pay non-refundable deposits to bail companies in exchange for their release from jail.
Bail insurers prey on those entering into the criminal justice system and trap them in debt through high fees and installment plans. These profiteers coerce people into signing over their privacy rights and when it's not profitable, they leave people in jail.
This practice of forcing people to buy their freedom--reminiscent of a time when slaves and their families had to do the same--has been part of American culture for centuries, and it is now being exploited by the bail bond industry.
Because racial disparity exists in every aspect of the criminal justice system, the use of money bail perpetuates this racial bias and enables big bail insurance companies to profit off the backs of our nation's most marginalized Black communities.
In addition to the over $9 billion wasted to incarcerate people who have been convicted of no crime, pre-trial incarceration has catastrophic impacts on families and communities. Just a few days in jail can cause irreversible harm and force people to lose their job, their housing, their children and, in cases like Sandra Bland, even cause them to lose their life.
The abolition of the for-profit bail industry is a crucial step to ending mass incarceration. Big bail companies have one major goal: to continue profiteering from the arrest and caging of people.
They do not care if these people are innocent, if jail conditions are inhumane or if bail bondsmen's practices mimic predatory lending. This "profit over people" sentiment is why corporations should not be the gatekeepers of a person's pretrial detention and release.
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Hijacked US 'Criminal Justice' Through Bail Bonds teleSUR
(May 15, 2017) -- Every day across the United States, thousands of criminal suspects are arrested and held for ransom by law enforcement authorities.
The process plays out in local or state jails 11 million times per year: sitting behind bars for a nonviolent drug offense, a DUI charge, failing to pay child support or even more serious charges, working-class people are forced to pay exorbitant cash bail or face a life-disrupting spell of pretrial incarceration -- sometimes lasting months, if not years.
In order to save one's livelihood and return to their families and jobs, those caught in the system are forced to pay large non-refundable fees to a neighborhood bail bonds company -- often co-signing a contract with family and friends who put up property as collateral -- that then fronts the massive bail amount allowing suspects to go free as they await their day in court.
These "mom and pop" corner shops have a range of friendly names, from AAA Bail Bonds to Zigggy Zigler Bail Bonds, and sport memorable slogans, cartoon mascots and even social media profiles with strong followings.
The shops' bonds, however, are underwritten by a multinational insurance industry dominated by major insurance companies which are publicly traded in Tokyo, London and Toronto.
The result of this trade in human flesh and misery-profiteering is that families are trapped in a perpetual cycle of debt while others are left to rot in a system of mass confinement -- or criminal justice -- which incentivizes the capture and exploitation of millions of people per year, sapping communities of needed resources and disproportionately impacting low-income people of color.
These are among the findings outlined in a startlinh new reportby the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, and Color of Change.
"Like payday lenders who profit from families' needs for immediate funds, 10 bail corporations take advantage of the urgent crisis of detention to lock people and their families in bad contracts, surveillance and control, and debt," the report states.
"No matter the eventual outcome of the case, even in cases in which the arrest itself is determined to be wrongful, the money that families scrape together to pay bail corporations is lost to them forever."
The corporate insurers extend US$14 billion in bail bonds each year yet "operate with little risk, even leading some of them to boast of going years without paying any losses," according to the report entitled "Selling Off Our Freedom: How Insurance Corporations have taken over our Bail System."
In many cases, the corporations are subsidiaries of global publicly-traded firms registered in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, operating "far from the influence of the people and communities over whom they hold so much power."
Why do these shadowy corporations exercise so much power? In many cases, the industry directly drafts laws which are then pushed by elected officials who are in their pockets due to campaign funding.
Across cable television, libertarian talking-heads from the Cato Institute and American Legislative Exchange Council extol the virtues of "free market solutions" meant to safeguard the profits of insurance and for-profit prison owners as they deride regulations and reforms as symptoms of "big government" that, naturally, are inimical to the demented big business conception of "liberty."
"The bail industry has corrupted our constitutional freedoms for profit: the freedom from exploitation in bail, the guarantee of being recognized as innocent until proven guilty, and the guarantee of the equal application of the law to all people," the report continues.
Conclusions drawn from the report are that legislators should be pressured to entirely cut private companies from the pretrial justice system, specifically by abolishing the for-profit jail industry, while conducting greater oversight and investigations into the industry and ensuring that the criminal justice system is made accountable to community demands for true justice.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.