cash bail

Bail bill passed last week shows fissures among House Democrats

BY: - May 8, 2023

Members of the House passed a bill last week that would strip magistrates of the responsibility to set bail for certain felonies and instead allow judges to determine whether people charged with some violent crimes should be granted pretrial release. Under current law, police take people they’ve arrested to a magistrate, who determines bail or […]

Lawmakers file bill to eliminate cash bail for NC’s lowest-level crimes

BY: - March 8, 2023

Democratic legislators from some of the state’s biggest counties — and busiest courthouses — have filed a bill that would prohibit judges from imposing cash bail on a person charged with one or more Class 3 misdemeanors. Class 3 misdemeanors are the least serious types of misdemeanors in North Carolina, punishable by up to 20 […]

Advocates offer pro tips on how to combat burdensome court fines, fees

BY: - February 18, 2020

The People’s Convening on Fines and Fees in North Carolina kicked off a campaign over the weekend to end the practice of saddling poor people with overburdensome court fines and fees. The two-day event, held at Bennett College in Greensboro, informed attendees about court fines and fees and how they operate in the state, and […]

Report: Challenges persist in use of pretrial justice tools

BY: - October 21, 2019

Pretrial justice policies that move courts away from cash bail and pretrial detention are spreading, according to a new report from the Pretrial Justice Institute. But they aren’t always being used properly. The practices are in place in some of North Carolina’s largest counties but are still struggling to make headway in some of its smallest. A […]

Forum to focus on bail, court fees, criminalization of poverty

BY: - June 11, 2019

If you’ve been following Policy Watch’s ongoing coverage of the criminalization of poverty through the cash bail system and court fines and fees, you’ll want to mark your calendar for an event this month in Greensboro. The free, interactive forum, presented by the Greensboro’s city council-appointed Criminal Justice Advisory Commission (GCJAC), will be held from […]

Bail reform activists charged after protest at Durham detention center

BY: - May 10, 2019

Two bail reform activists were charged Friday after chaining themselves to a gate outside the Durham County Detention Center Thursday. Kayla ONeill Hartsfield, 25, and Serena Elysa Sebring Wadlington, 41, both of Durham, were charged with public disturbance, second-degree trespass and failure to disperse. Both were released on $2,000 unsecured bonds with a court appearance […]

NC Episcopal Convention: Reform the bail system, support pre-trial release

BY: - November 29, 2018

Add another voice to the chorus calling for reform of North Carolina’s cash bail system: The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. Earlier this month, at its 203rd annual convention, the group adopted a resolution committing to “examine current judicial pretrial release procedures within our state.” Policy Watch has written extensively about the cash bail system and its […]

National poll: Black voters overwhelmingly want bail reform

BY: - November 1, 2018

A new national poll shows Black registered voters overwhelmingly favor fewer arrests for minor offenses, more support services in the community and pre-trial release decisions based on public safety—not on the ability to pay a money bond. The poll, released this week, was commissioned by the Pretrial Justice Institute and the National Urban League. Some key […]

California becomes first state to officially end cash bail

BY: - August 29, 2018

California became the first U.S. state to officially abolish cash bail Tuesday, a landmark for the national bail reform movement. “This is a transformative day for our justice system,” said Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. “Our old system of money bail was outdated, unsafe, and unfair.” The bipartisan bail reform […]

ACLU of NC kicks off campaign to end cash bail

BY: - May 21, 2018

This week the ACLU of North Carolina kicked off its campaign to end cash bail . Regular Policy Watch readers have seen our coverage of the inequities of the cash bail system and the for-profit bail bond industry.  You should also take the time to read the ACLU and Color of Change report “Selling Off […]


Why are state legislators forcing judges to jail people for being poor?

BY: - May 15, 2018

As those who have been following Policy Watch reporter Joe Killian’s recent series of stories on North Carolina’s broken cash bail system are well aware, debtor’s prison is an all-too-real phenomenon in our state. Between the perverse reality of people failing to make bail because it’s too expensive for the poor to afford and too […]