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This Practice Against the Poor Puts Thousands of Innocent People in Prison Every Year

Bianca Young, innocent Chicago women in prison

People who are charged with committing crimes and are sent to jail pending trial are usually offered bail bond. This allows them to pay to be released before their trial begins. Poor people, however, are at a huge disadvantage with this practice because they have no money to pay the bond. Some sit in jail for as much as two years before being released for a crime they never committed.
Waiting for nearly 800 days

That was the situation with 25-year-old Bianca Young from the Chicago area. She was jailed for a shooting in Cook County back in August 2014, and her bail was first set at $1 million, then later reduced to $250,000.

Bail bondman fees, the price you actually pay to get a bond to let you out of jail, range from 8% to 15%, depending on the state. But that is still about $25,000 - way beyond any poor person's ability to pay.

So, although Bianca had no prior convictions, she was still charged with murder, attempted murder, and disrupting the peace, and was forced to wait more than two years (about 800 days) in prison waiting for her trial.

When the trial finally started, she was acquitted and has since been released.

Thousands of others stuck in jail

This happens to thousands of innocent people every year.  According to ABC Eyewitness News in Chicago, as many as 15 million people are put in jail every year in the U.S., and those who cannot afford bail remain there.

About 92 percent of inmates in Cook County Jail have not yet been convicted of the crime that put them behind bars, compared with 60 percent nationally. Human activists say this is not justice.

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