Who in the World is in Favor of Cash Bail?

Lead Article

Who in the World is in Favor of Cash Bail?

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, New York Times, Aug. 25, 2017

Pretty much everyone who spends any time examining the American system of secured cash bail comes away with the same conclusion: It’s unjust, expensive and ineffective, even counterproductive. People charged with crimes — all of whom are presumed innocent — get locked up for days, weeks or months not because they pose a risk of fleeing or endangering the public but simply because they’re too poor to buy their freedom.

Featured Articles

Each month Texas county jails tally the number of pregnant inmates and report that to the Jail Commission. Some are only held there a few days, but others may be incarcerated for weeks and months and a number will deliver their babies in local hospitals while in custody.

Can you Volunteer? Help TJP help others Can you Volunteer? Help TJP help others

When a chaplain visits a person in a county jail, they often bring hope and a listening ear along with spiritual guidance. At other times, chaplains have called us or spoken out to sheriffs when they’ve seen a person with mental illness treated badly or a pregnant woman left in a solitary cell for weeks on end. Families have asked us to post a list of chaplains at county jails, and we haven’t had the time or staff to do that. Volunteers could help us complile a list. [continue for more details]

Harris County Lawsuit: Bail Penalizes Poor People Harris County Lawsuit: Bail Penalizes Poor People

“Texas’ most populous county jails misdemeanor arrestees who can’t afford bail, an unconstitutional “wealth-based” system that leaves poor people languishing behind bars, an inmate claims in a federal class action.” We already knew about a lot of the inequities in the court system in Houston from the Project Orange Jumpsuit report of 2014, but now we know more. And this lawsuit demonstrates that people are not going to take it any more. ODonnell says in her lawsuit “Harris County’s detention system is unconstitutionally rigged against poor people because magistrate judges set their bail with no consideration of whether they can afford it.”

Habeas Corpus

If your loved one was found incompetent to stand trial … If your loved one was found incompetent to stand trial …

There is a legal filing to make sure a person found incompetent is hospitalized or removed from the jail. If your loved one has been found incompetent to stand trial due to mental disability but has continued to be held in jail without treatment, the person’s lawyer can file a Writ of Habeas Corpus with the court that requires the county to provide him/her with appropriate medical care—in other words, send them to a hospital. Once the court grants the Writ, the Sheriff must comply. Go to next page for the Writ, which you can download.

Pretrial Detention

Voices of Pretrial Detention in Texas Voices of Pretrial Detention in Texas

“Sharing my story might not make it more safe for myself, but I would like to make it safe for someone else.” says John Brown, who was jailed at Dallas County Jail for two and a half years while awaiting trial. His and other stories reveal what happens to unconvicted people held in jails, mostly because they cannot afford the bail—a practice outlawed in many developed nations.
Last year, Texas Jail Project launched a website, “Jailhouse Stories: Voices from Pretrial Detention in Texas.” Collected over a two-year period, these powerful stories document a pattern of mistreatment and poor conditions experienced by those incarcerated in county jails while pretrial—innocent in the eyes of the law and awaiting their day in court.

Families Speak Out

“I found your website….and I am profoundly grateful.” “I found your website….and I am profoundly grateful.”

July 2017: “Thank you Texas Jail Project for the wonderful help you gave me dealing with a very difficult situation with a love one jailed facing a very serious felony charge. A friend suggested I contact Texas Jail Project for help. I am happy to report they did indeed help over a extended period of time [months]. They made many suggestions on how I should proceed and sending me copies of legal forms I would need. A special thanks to Krishnaveni Gundu. She was unbelievable helpful in her tireless effort to help us.”