Bill would monitor Arkansas’s cash bail system

Stock picture of jail cell (Source: KAIT-TV)
Stock picture of jail cell (Source: KAIT-TV)((Source: KAIT-TV))
Published: Mar. 13, 2019 at 1:21 AM CDT
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LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT/KARK) - State lawmakers are working to make sure the state’s cash bail system will treat rich and poor people equally.

If an Arkansan cannot afford bail, they have the option to choose between bond and jail

But if a wealthier suspect is accused of the same crime, they can walk prior to their trial.

Little Rock television station KARK reports that the bill, filed by St. Rep. Andrew Collins (D-Little Rock) and St. Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-Paragould), would require monitoring and reporting of bail information and public transparency.

“People will simply take a deal to get out of jail even if they’re innocent,” Collins said. “If it’s just a matter of being poor, we give them the opportunity to find a better way rather than being locked up indefinitely.”

The bill added that the state spends about $100 million every year on pre-trial detention.

Inmates who are deemed a flight risk or dangerous would stay in detention. Others could walk before their trial, regardless of their bank account.

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