The End of Cash Bail: Statement from ALC Court Watch

We seek the abolition of cash bail in Allegheny County — and everywhere else in the US colonial project.

We believe cash bail contributes to a violent system of apartheid policing and punishment, and exacerbates economic precarity and poverty by governance thru debt.

We recognize cash bail as a feature of racial capitalism that benefits white people, the ruling class, and state power thru parasitic exploitation and dispossession of Black people and poor community members — not as a legitimate pretrial condition for securing one’s appearance in court.

We observe the wild inconsistencies of how cash bail is imposed among magistrates, revealing a crisis of legitimacy in their courts; since there is no standard, the financial and carceral fates of community members are merely entropic.

We reject the use of surveillance, algorithmic violence, and predictive policing, which rely on risk assessment “formulas” that are inherently anti-Black; these practices are often offered up as “alternatives” to cash bail thus co-opting initial abolitionist demands.

We situate our objective of abolishing cash bail within our larger protracted goals of ending state violence and transitioning from a punitive paradigm to one that centers healing, accountability, and community power.

– ALC Court Watch, January 6, 2021

ALC is a nonprofit law firm fighting to protect prisoners, and a community organizing project aiming to build a world without prisons. abolitionistlawcenter.org