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How Texas’ cash bail system affects poorer women

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Money can make a difference in how much time accused persons in Texas spend in jail before their criminal trials. Some wait a long time because they can’t make cash bail. This problem is especially difficult for poor women, who tend to spend the longest time behind bars because they have difficulty making bail.

The price of bail can affect poorer people for years

Many believe the state’s cash bail system will only affect those with felony charges. However, even individuals facing misdemeanors who must mount a criminal defense can suffer long-term economic effects. The cash bail system in Texas allows those accused to pay for release from jail while they await trial. The amount for many is impossible to reach, meaning they stay behind bars for longer periods, sometimes until their trials. About 75% of those incarcerated in county jails remain there because they cannot post the money required. The situation is worse for poor women because they do not have access to healthcare needed for pregnancy and other female needs, and they cannot obtain mental health counseling.

Civil rights groups and inmates have long advocated for discontinuing cash bail. Texas changed its bail system in 2021 but did not forbid cash bail. A backlog of cases complicates matters, making the accused wait years for trial and subjecting them to strict rules on what they can and cannot do.

Defending your criminal case

One of the reasons many social groups have advocated for the elimination of cash bail is that poorer people, especially those of color, are often unjustly accused of crimes, yet they still have to mount a defense to clear their names. Uncovering details to exonerate the charges takes time and money. Adding cash bail or bail bonds makes the situation even more difficult for poorer people accused of various crimes.

If you are accused of a crime, you may be able to work out a defense to reduce or eliminate the consequences and get your life back on track. Getting out of jail as soon as possible before your trial can make a difference in your quality of life because you can remain with your family and help care for their needs. You will also have an easier time gathering the evidence you need.