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23 Feb 2018

Larry Krasner announces end to cash bail in Philadelphia for low-level offenses

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February 23, 2018 Category: Local Posted by:

Effort marks the first, of an ongoing review of cash bail

 

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner today announced, effective immediately, that the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) will no longer ask for cash bail for low-level offenses. The new policy marks a decisive step towards making the city’s pre-trial system fairer for the poor and for people of color.

“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,” Krasner said. “It’s simply not fair. We don’t imprison the poor for poverty. 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.”

“Through our collaborative efforts under the MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge, as well as numerous other initiatives, we as a City are creating a more fair and efficient justice system,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “DA Krasner’s new policy to recommend against cash bail for low-level offenders is a significant step in that direction. This effort has the potential to reduce collateral consequences for those charged with low level offenses, and represents Philadelphia’s shift towards reducing or eliminating cash bail. We look forward to discussing how these changes will be applied and implemented by the District Attorney’s Office.”

After a review of all the requests for bail associated with lead charges filed in the First Judicial District (FJD) Municipal Courts over the last five years, DA Krasner has instructed Assistant District Attorneys (ADA) in the office to no longer request cash bail for defendants charged with one of the 25 specific charges. These offenses represent approximately half of all lead charges applied over the past five years.

“I see cash bail as a medieval tool that exists in our modern criminal justice system. It’s a relic, and it increases the likelihood of future recidivism by almost nine percent. We in Philadelphia City Council recently passed a resolution about reforming cash bail, so we’re overwhelmingly supportive of the new policy, and I can tell you that I’ll do everything I can to expand fairness in the City of Philadelphia,” said Philadelphia Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. (D- 4th Dist.).

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