When people are arrested and brought to jail in the United states, they usually have to pay cash bail in order to be released from detention before their trial. Studies show that more than 3 out of every 5 people arrested remain behind bars – unconvicted – because they can’t raise the often sizeable sums of money needed to pay their bail.
“Punishing the Poor” is the theme of a special photography exhibition organized by the non-profit Open Society Institute-Baltimore and the PreTrial Justice Institute that spotlights the plight of pretrial detainees and the urgent need for reform of the nation's broken cash bail system. The photo show, which opens with a public reception this Wednesday from 5:30 to 7pm at the Living Well, is called #unconvicted. You can see some of the photos here.
In the studio with Tom this morning to talk about the exhibition and what’s being done to reform the nation’s cash bail system is Tara Huffman, director of OSI-Baltimore’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice program. Joining them by phone is Cherise Fanno Burdeen, executive director of the Pretrial Justice Institute, or PJI, a Maryland-based advocacy and training agency supported by the Department of Justice and independent foundations to promote reform in local and national pretrial services.
The audio for this segment will be available by noon today.