Getting bailed out can be very difficult if you are from a minority population. Every city in California, such as Rancho Cucamonga, has several minorities, including Asian (12.6%), African American (8.89%) and Other (10.1%). The police are notorious for arresting minorities based on “suspicion”. Even though the situation is getting better with recent discussions on racism, racial profiling by U.S. law enforcement is still rampant.
Shocking Statistics: According to the Prison Policy Institute, about 631,500 people are detained in American jails, out of which 74% are under trial, which means that they haven’t been convicted of a crime. Instead, many face pre-trial detention as they lack the exorbitant bail amount required.
- It is not surprising that Black Americans, Asian Americans and American Indians are hugely overrepresented in under trial populations, owing to their disadvantaged socioeconomic position in society.
- These minorities face the highest risk of unnecessary incarceration, as they often belong from “crime-prone” neighbourhoods and are thus subjected to unnecessary discrimination and questioning.
The Right Steps: No one can foresee an arrest; however, everyone should be aware of the steps followed after one. In Rancho Cucamonga, an arrested individual will be transported to the Central Detention Center in San Bernardino, or the nearby West Valley Detention Center.
- If one can post the entire bail in cash, they will be released immediately pending arraignment. However, most minorities are from marginalized backgrounds and might not have the cash amount at hand. Therefore, as an alternative, bail bonds are accepted in place of cash.
- In California, defendants with a minority status can rely on the 24/7 bail bonds services in Rancho Cucamonga to get out of the prison system, paying a small percentage of the whole bail sum.
Know Your Rights: It is understandable that one might not even have the amount required as a bond fee and thus needs some time to obtain it. In such a case, it is crucial to know the rights as an under-trial.
- Prolonged detention and delay in the trial of cases violate the right to a fair trial and your right to liberty, guaranteed by the Constitution. One cannot be held for more than two to six weeks inside the prison without a fair trial. This provision is in place to avoid the possibility of ill-treatment or torture of a potentially innocent person.
- According to Amnesty International, all detainees have a right to trial within a reasonable time. If that is not possible, arrangements must be made for their release.
- The Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (1955), adopted by the First United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, states that untried prisoners shall be kept separate from convicted prisoners and be provided separate clothing, in order to prevent “bad influence” and facilitate treatment with a view to social rehabilitation.
- Furthermore, untried detainees should be offered opportunities for paid work and free legal aid. They should be treated as innocent by all prison staff.
Being arrested and treated differently due to one’s minority status is a gross violation of human rights. These acts are certainly unjust, illegal and unequal and degrading, but one can take the first step towards justice by securing a bail bond. If you are a victim of bias-policing, seek legal help immediately and contact the Attorney Generals’ office if required.
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