Nuisance crimes such as disorderly conduct and panhandling, according to reports, are landing the poor and homeless in jail for extended periods because they can not pay to get out. Atlanta’s recently elected mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, is proposing dropping cash bonds for some offenses. Atlanta City Council is to take up the matter at its meeting this afternoon.
There are those in the bail bonds community who believe removing cash bonds would lower the ability of courts to hold those jailed accountable. They believe doing so would remove at least one consequence of failure to appear in court. But, local civil rights attorney Mawuli Davis says the bail bonds businesses have a money economic interest in it, which he calls “unfortunate”. According to Davis, “We have to take a moral stand over the money stand that they are taking. We know the importance of the impact it has on poor, predominantly black and brown people, in the City Atlanta. So, why would we allow minor offenses to keep people in jail? Davis calls it “unnecessary”, adding, “these aren’t the serious crimes. Those, they will continue to make their money from.”