American Bail Coalition director: It’s time for system reform

Aug 11, 2020, 4:26 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:22 am
bail system reform...
FILE - This June 30, 2020, file photo shows the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

The American bail system has been undergoing reform over the last decade in an effort to eliminate bail for low-level cases — maintaining the statute for criminal cases.

However, mass protests over racial justice temporarily upended those efforts. Jeff Clayton, executive director of the American Bail Coalition, said the system is now threatened with destabilization. 

“The system has been, and still is, stable pre-this movement,” Clayton told Heather Kelly on the Money Making Sense show. “Now it’s being destabilized.”

Bail system reform

Before a protest movement swept across the country — beginning in response to George Floyd’s death by a police officer — Clayton said people like him hoped to reform the bail system to ensure due process. 

“In other words, somebody had a bail set that was considered excessive but they didn’t realize they have to file a motion to have it reduced,” he said. “Or judges just didn’t take it seriously or have any hearings in a timely fashion.”

Despite the efforts underway, Clayton said the “reforms were minimal compared to the functioning of the system. It was holding people accountable.”

Reforming the system meant looking more closely at cases that held people in jail because they can’t post bail — something that disproportionately affects low-income people or those who couldn’t afford a personal attorney. 

Leveling the playing field

Clayton argued the bail system effects apply to everyone. That includes those wrongfully charged or those who don’t know they can request a lower bail. 

However, he said authorities don’t collect data on the demographics — like race or class — of those who don’t get their bail reduced. He said banking information, flight risk, prior crimes, severity of charges and other factors more frequently influence those decisions. 

Without this data, Clayton said it helps make sure the bail system is “applied across the board.”

“Which just points out,” he said, “we need due process so people can exercise their rights in all cases.”

Hear the full interview with Jeff Clayton and KSL NewsRadio’s Heather Kelly here: 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

A woman wearing white sitting in front of a light box...
Michelle Lee

Winter blues: light therapy and lifestyle changes can help

SALT LAKE CITY – With the chilly weather and the shorter days, many people are prone to experience the winter blues. In the latest Let’s Get Moving with Maria podcast episode, host Maria Shilaos spoke with Dr. Jason Hunziker from the Huntsman Mental Health Institute about ways people can overcome the winter blues. Seasonal depression […]
1 day ago
little cottonwood canyon pictured, avalanche risk there is high...
Devin Oldroyd

Backcountry skier dead after fatal fall in Little Cottonwood Canyon

A backcountry skier is dead after "tumbling a significant distance," according to the Unified Police Department. The incident occurred near Lisa Falls.
1 day ago
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 03: Grammy trophies sit in the press room during the 64th Annual GRAMMY A...
Marianne Garvey, CNN

How to watch the 2023 Grammy Awards: Time, channels and more

The biggest night in music is here with the 65th Grammy Awards on Sunday. If you want to see Harry Styles, Lizzo and more perform, here's how to tune in.
1 day ago
SLCPD cruiser...
Chandler Holt

SLCPD officer witnesses wrong-way drunk driver crash into embankment

At around 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning, an SLCPD officer witnessed a 2009 black Ford F-150 traveling at a high rate of speed in the wrong lane. 
1 day ago
This photo purports to show the suspected Chinese balloon flying over Mills River, North Carolina, ...
Heather Chen and Wayne Chang, CNN

China says it ‘reserves the right’ to deal with ‘similar situations’ after US shoot down suspected spy balloon

China says it "reserves the right" to deal with "similar situations" following the United States' decision to shoot down its high-altitude balloon.
1 day ago
In the golden age of space exploration we live in, cosmic revelations seem to occur more frequently...
Ashley Strickland, CNN

Cosmic seaplanes and self-growing bricks could help us explore other worlds

In the golden age of space exploration we live in, cosmic revelations seem to occur more frequently than ever before.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
American Bail Coalition director: It’s time for system reform