House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) joined Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to announce the reintroduction of the Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act.
The Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act incentivizes states to move away from a money bail system.
Instead, the bill encourages states to replace their existing bail systems with assessments made on proven data outcomes—a more just system for evaluating the flight and safety risk of defendants facing trial. This kind of assessment considers factors such as a person’s past criminal history and the current charge.
“I’m proud to be an original cosponsor of this legislation to help end the reliance on the money bail system in our states,” Chairman Nadler said. “For far too long, the wealthy have had an unfair advantage over those with less means, including predominantly people of color.”
“Individuals should not be held in pretrial detention because they cannot afford bail. There is so much to be done to reform our criminal justice system, but this is an important step that Congress should take.”
“Money bail creates a grossly unjust system where criminals are able to go free if they can fork up the cash while those that can’t are forced to languish in jail before their time in court,” Rep. Lieu, the House sponsor, said. “Those who can’t make bail can end up losing jobs and their homes, and sometimes their ability to care for their families.
“In short, money bail criminalizes being poor. I firmly believe that safety should be our primary concern when detaining someone before trial, and we shouldn’t make these decisions based on a person’s finances. The Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act would help modernize our bail system by moving away from money bail. I’m grateful to have partners in Chairman Nadler and Senator Booker on this important piece of criminal justice reform.”
“Our current pretrial money bail system favors the wealthy, disproportionately impacts low-income communities and communities of color, and belies the most fundamental principles of our justice system of due process and equal justice under the law,” said Senator Booker.
“This legislation will be a step forward in reforming our broken bail system and moving our criminal justice system closer to the upholding the ideal of equal justice for all Americans.”