“Incarcerating people solely because they cannot afford bail is inconsistent with the fundamental principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’”
This thought seems to pop up everywhere bail reform is discussed. But it is wrong on multiple levels.
First no one is jailed because they can’t afford bail. They are jailed because they committed a crime and ‘probable cause’ was established. The presumption of innocence does not waive anyone’s responsibility to show the courts why they can be counted on to show up for court and and cooperate with our justice system for the public good. Judges, more often than not, give out PR bonds which cost the defendants nothing up front when they can show the courts they are responsible citizens of the community.
Rich or poor, the obligation is the same. If a person cannot qualify for a PR bond, they will usually have the option to post a bond. But let’s keep it real, the best advice is, if you can’t pay the dime, don’t do the crime.
To better understand what ‘innocent until proven guilty’means and, what it does not mean, see the excellent article at The Free Dictionary. Here’s a thought-provoking quote:
…the presumption of innocence is largely symbolic.The reality is that no defendant would face trial unless somebody—the crime victim, the prosecutor, a police officer—believed that the defendant was guilty of a crime. After the government has presented enough evidence to constitute Probable Cause to believe that the defendant has committed a crime, the accused need not be treated as if he or she was innocent of a crime, and the defendant may be jailed with the approval of the court. — Presumtion of Innocence website