One man’s recent jailing has caused an uproar of political opinion. After being arrested for public intoxication, Maurice Walker was jailed for six nights because he didn’t have the means to pay the $160 in bail. Liberals are outraged and believe that if a criminal cannot afford bail then they shouldn’t have to face jail time. They feel that it is unfair to subject such individuals with the rigor of jail time.
Since this one particular incident, The Obama Administration is advising state courts to get away from requiring fixed cash bail amounts and jailing those who are unable to pay. They are currently brainstorming other ways to keep criminals accountable.
The Justice Department believes that jailing someone without a fair trial goes against the Fourteenth Amendment. Just because an individual doesn’t have the means for bail, they shouldn’t have to face jail time. They feel that throwing the person in jail is over-stepping the constitutional values of the Fourteenth Amendment which addresses citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws, and was proposed in response to issues related to former slaves following the American Civil War.
But others argue that the purpose of a set bail amount is to ensure that the individual appears at their scheduled court date and doesn’t flee. It also ensure that the person maintains a clean slate. Typically, when a person cannot afford bail, it is due to the fact that they cannot hold onto employment, which, in some cases makes them detrimental to society. Having a set amount of bail in place ensures not only the safety of society but of the person in question at the same time.
Justice Department’s civil rights lawyers said in their brief that courts must consider a person’s indigence and look at other ways of guaranteeing an appearance in court.
Some of those opposing the viewpoint of the Obama Administration have shared the following comments:
“All the Obama administration is doing is encouraging criminals to remain in their degraded state while the rest of society falls prey because of the anemic and limp Justice department.”
Others feel that if they get “let off,” without having to pay bail, then they will continue to be detrimental to society, which affects all classes and levels of society…
“Why can’t they pay bail? I’m going to take a leap and say they don’t have jobs. Little to no accountability, discipline, or framework has been a part of these individuals lives and will continue to remain absent with measures like these.”
And others feel that, allowing the criminal to get away without jail time or bail money, simply does not hold them accountable for their actions…
“What is not fair is providing a blank check to criminals to commit whatever offense they so choose. This does not hold criminals accountable for their actions as they will be released on the streets immediately to just commit another crime.”
Several people seem to feel that the decision of the Obama Administration will lead to a more crime-filled country because the punishment will not be as feared.