August 01, 2018 Feature

Challenging Money Bail in the Courts

By Thea L. Sebastian and Alec Karakatsanis

Our legal system has become desensitized to the suffering that it inflicts on human beings and their bodies. On any given night, approximately 2.2 million people are in jail cells in the United States.1 In total, 6.8 million lives are under the control and supervision of government agents.2 This means that 1 in every 37 people—2.7 percent of the adult population—is physically confined or surveilled and supervised.3 Despite this country having just 5 percent of the global population, we are responsible for 21 percent of the human beings around the world who will go to sleep tonight in government custody.4 And we incarcerate black people at a rate five times that of American whites and six times that of South Africa during the height of apartheid.5

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