The issue disproportionately affects the poor, who often can't make bail and must pay bond companies (typically 10 percent of the bail) to get out of jail. Those who can't bond out are stuck in jail, contributing to the overcrowding that's especially pronounced in rural and county jails. The numbers of people awaiting trial far outnumber people serving sentences, CNN reports.
"Reform efforts across the country seek to make the bail system less burdensome on the poor. The majority of states addressing the issue are trying to make money bail the last resort, by mandating that judges apply the 'least onerous release conditions possible' and consider the defendant's ability to pay, as well as eliminating money bail for low-level charges," Richards and Griffin report. "As a result, the $2-billion-a-year bail bonds industry is in a fight for its very survival."