Bail Litigation and Reform Advocacy

If you are arrested in North Carolina, regardless of whether it was justified or not, your ability to leave jail is dependent upon your ability to pay cash bail. This cash bail system targets poor people and people of color, leaving them stuck in jail while their wealthier counterparts can return home and go about their lives.

In North Carolina, money bail is often required in amounts much too high for most defendants to pay. When this happens, defendants have three choices, all of which create additional hardships in their lives: sit in jail, often for lengthy periods of time, awaiting trial; plead guilty and give up their right to a fair trial; or pay nonrefundable fees to for-profit bail bonds companies to post bail – money they will never see again even if no charges are ever filed.

Tthe Carolina Justice Policy Center engages in litigation on behalf of individuals unfairly targeted by the cash bail system. By working with our existing coalition partners to identify defendants in need, we can be present at first appearances and advocate for the accused in the bonding process. By doing so, we can help reduce the amount of time they spend in jail.

By offering expert, pro bono support to victims of the cash bail system, our goal is reduce the number of North Carolinians who are jailed simply because they are too poor to pay bail.

We also advocate for bail reform across North Carolina. CJPC staff engage regularly local media, educate the public and key decision makers on alternatives to money bail,  shape strategy for our litigation partners, and support local organizing efforts.