In a unanimous vote by its board of county commissioners, Orange County recently became one of the latest jurisdictions to proclaim their support for the 3DaysCount campaign.
The campaign, organized by the national Pretrial Justice Institute, seeks to raise awareness of the shortcomings of the cash bail system. It highlights the terrible impact even short term incarceration can have on those who remain jailed before their day in court because they cannot afford bail.
The campaign’s goals:
- Reduce unnecessary arrests that destabilize families and communities,
- Replace discriminatory money bail with practical, risk-based decision-making, and
- Restrict detention (after due process) to the small number of people who pose unmanageable risks if released.
Today, we take a look at some polling numbers from the Institute’s study, Key Findings on Recent Public Opinion Research: Pretrial Risk Assessment. The study, by Lake Research Partners, examines public sentiment on the issues around cash bail and the expansion of pretrial services.
12 million – approximate number of people booked into U.S. jails each year, mostly for nonviolent misdemeanors.
69 – percentage of likely voters who said they believe the criminal justice systems favor the rich
13 – percentage of likely voters who said they strongly believe all citizens are treated equally regardless of wealth.\
80 – percentage who said they agree or strongly agree police should focus on identifying and arresting violent, high-risk suspects instead of low-level, nonviolent suspects — this belief crossed political party lines in the polling
76 – percentage of voters surveyed who said they support or strongly support reducing the number of arrests for low-level, nonviolent offenses by issuing citations in lieu of arrest for those offenses
84 – percentage who said they strongly favor the use of risk assessment and, when needed, pretrial supervision to reduce unnecessary pretrial incarceration.
58 – percentage who, after a brief explanation of how risk-based pre-trial systems function, support replacing money bail with them.
28 – percentage who believe risk assessment tools are already currently in use across jurisdictions.
10 – percentage of jurisdictions in the U.S. that actually use empirically derived assessment tools to guide pretrial decisions.
35 – percentage who say money bail fails to address crime or keep the public safe.
81 – percentage who support empowering states to detain the highest-risk defendants before trial, with full due process and without money bail.