Philadelphia District Attorney eliminates cash bail for majority of non-violent crimes
Larry Krasner, Philadelphia’s District Attorney, moved on Wednesday to eliminate the policy of seeking cash bail for 25 non-violent offenses, including driving while intoxicated, marijuana possession, and forgery. This move comes as the latest in a series of similar cases in states like California, New York, and Texas aimed at reducing the use of monetary bail, which criminal justice advocates have long argued places an unfair burden on communities of color and the poor.
During his election campaign, Krasner promised to eliminate bail for non-violent offenses, and this step in that direction ensures that defendants are not essentially imprisoned because they don’t have the money to pay bail, which in many cases was set as high as ten thousand dollars. Krasner released a statement on Wednesday stating his views on the previous policy:
There is absolutely no reason why someone who will show up for court, is not a flight risk, and is no threat to their neighbors and community needs to sit in jail for days because they can’t post a small amount of bail… It’s simply not fair. We don’t imprison the poor for poverty.
Krasner also made mention of the racial and economic factors that come into play when cities and states demand that non-violent offenses carry a bail fee, saying: “This new cash bail policy will not only save the taxpayers money by allowing low-level defendants to maintain their freedom, but it will begin to level the economic and racial playing field in our courtrooms.”