We See You: Durham Reforming the Cash Bail System
About a week after our premiere episode “Blackish” aired featuring Nicole Townsend, the Durham County District Attorney’s Office announced that they no longer seek cash bail as a condition of pretrial release in misdemeanor and other low-level felony cases.
District Attorney Satana Deberry stated in a media release that the policy change is “part of a larger effort to rethink when and why we impose incarceration, and to reduce unnecessary prosecution of individuals facing charges that often arise from poverty, mental illness, and substance use.”
Although they had not publicly announced the change until last week, they have been trying the policy out since February. As a result, the Durham County Jail population is down by 15%.
The new bail policy was written by two Durham County Judges, and some reform advocates believe that the policy gives judges too much discretion.
The policy comes with a new checklist that magistrates must use to make pretrial-release decisions. Another change is that there is no longer an introduction describing the purpose for which the person is seeking bail, which Superior Judge Hudson says only purpose is supposed to ensure court appearances, not deter crimes.
When people are arrested and given cash money bails they can’t afford to pay without being found guilty of a crime, it puts them at risk of losing their home, job, cars, children and more. I am happy to find that more officials are listening and reform is happening.
We See You
The other day, Cliff Williams, the founder and co-producer of the show, and I sat down to work on the mission, vision, and values of the show. We decided that our mission would be to elevate marginalized perspectives and voices while simultaneously being a resource to their viewing audience on all things related to health, truth, integrity, love, grace, and humanity. We had over 10K people watch our premiere episode, and I am glad to see it was right on mission for us.
Check out our interview with Nicole Townsend: