Tag: Arizona Task Force on Fair Justice for All

New Times: Courts make change for low-income defendants

February 2017

Phoenix New Times reported a major change to the court system will go into effect April 3 in which suspects, in routine cases, who have little or no money will be released without bail.

Four bills that supplement and expand the change will be debated by the State Legislature that may give low-income Arizonans who have committed low-level crimes a discount on court fines, or waive them completely. Old court debts would vanish, and motorists would catch a break with the easing of rules regarding driver's license suspensions.

Bail or Jail?

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Reports and Publications
January 2017
Bill Hart

If a person cannot afford to post bail, he/she stays in jail until trial, which can be costly to all sides.

Courts use this method under the premise that it helps ensure that defendants will return to court for trial. It’s been standard practice for years. But some scholars and practitioners are faulting this “money bail” system for unfairly keeping low-income, low-risk defendants incarcerated solely because they cannot afford even small bail amounts or to pay minor fines and fees.

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