New Atlanta cash bond ordinance now in effect

 

A big change is going into effect in the City of Atlanta, and it all centers around Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom’s promise for criminal justice reform.

As of midnight, the city is making it easier for non-violent offenders to get out of jail before making their first court appearance. For supporters, it’s a historic change.

But does it also create serious problems?

When she signed it into law, Bottoms made it clear this is a step toward criminal justice reform.

“The intentions are there, we want to do right by our communities, but sometimes we need the help and sometimes the guidance and leadership of our communities to show us the way to get it right.”

As of midnight, non-violent offenders booked into Atlanta’s detention center will no longer need to secure a cash bond to get out of jail before making a first court appearance.

“The so-called ‘war on drugs’ has turned out in a real sense to be a war on black, brown or poor communities, and the bail system as it’s currently configured is one of the ways this plays out.”

Supporters call the move historic, with many believing the old way of business here unfairly targeted the poor.

“Once they lose their jobs, it becomes such an issue for them to be able to regain employment to reestablish themselves, and so it’s a domino effect and so this will stop that domino effect for a lot of people, so that’s why they’re excited.”

But some question the potential challenges this change creates. Bail conditions can still be set for violent and repeat offenders in the city.

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