This week the ACLU of North Carolina announced an initiative to end cash bail in North Carolina. Regular Policy Watch readers will be familiar with our recent series of stories on the bail bond industry, the inequity of cash bail and the ways in which both impact those in poverty.
Those without the means to pay cash bail or a percentage to a bail bond agent languish in jails at a cost to taxpayers that is often more than the bail itself. If the charges are dropped or the defendant is not convicted, those costs go unreimbursed. If they are convicted, they often become an additional debt owed by those who cannot afford it.
In this week’s Monday numbers, we’re taking a look at the causes and effects of mass incarceration related to bail practices in North Carolina and beyond.
70 – The percentage of people across the United States who are in jail without having been convicted of any crime. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics.)
86 – The percentage of those in North Carolina who are in jail without having been convicted of a crime. (Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics census)
$14 billion – Estimated cash value of bail bonds issued in the U.S. each year. (Source: IBISWorld Industry Report “Bail Bond Services in the US.” November 2016, Rutgers University)
9 – Number of major insurance companies backing the majority of those bonds. (Justice Policy Institute report, September 18, 2012)
$10,000 – The national median for bail for a felony arrest. (Source: Tafoya, Sonya, pub., PPIC, “Pretrial detention and jail capacity in California” 4 – 2015)
24 – The national percentage of defendants who secured release before trial through paying for-profit bail agents in 1990. (Source: Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics.)
49 – The national percentage of defendants who secured release before trial through paying for-profit bail agents in 2009. (Source: Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics.)
4 – The number of U.S. states that do not allow for-profit bail. They are Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon, and Wisconsin.
92 percent – The likelihood of conviction for those who remained in jail while their cases proceeded, according to a New York City study that controlled for all other factors. (Source: Investigating the Impact of Pretrial Detention on Sentencing Outcomes” 10–11 (2013); Mary T. Philips, New York City Crim. Justice Agency, Inc., “Pretrial Detention and Case Outcomes, Part 1: Nonfelony Cases” 25–29 – 2007)
50 percent – The likelihood of conviction for those who did not remaion in jail while their cases proceeded, according to the same study.
$75 million – Estimate of bail bond premiums charged in cases resolved without any finding of wrongdoing over one five year period in the state of Maryland. That’s more than twice the premium charged in cases resulting in a conviction in District Court. (Source: “The High Cost of Bail: How Maryland’s Reliance on Money Bail Jails the Poor and Costs the Community Millions,” Maryland Office of the Public Defender, November 2016)
$93,000 – Estimated political contributions from the bail bond industry in North Carolina for election cycles from 2010 to 2016 (Source: National Institute on Money in State Politics Follow the Money Database)