Bail bond companies both weaken and profit from the criminal justice system — by keeping poor people in debt even after they've been cleared of charges — the American Civil Liberties Union said in a report released Thursday.
The $14 billion-a-year bail bond industry, underwritten by nine large insurance companies including some owned by multinational corporations, perpetuates a system in which people who can't afford bail remain in jail before trial. This leaves them with a choice between borrowing money or staying locked up, the ACLU said.
Those who remain incarcerated are less likely to win their court cases, researchers say. And those who borrow from bondsmen to buy their freedom often spend months or years paying it back.
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