Harris County Jail in Texas is being sued by a human rights group for discriminating against poor prisoners who cannot afford bail as low as $500.
According to a new lawsuit, the Harris County Jail runs a detainment system that jails people who are too poor to pay bail. Harris County Jail is the largest in Texas and the third largest in the United States. This injustice at such a large institution points towards the rampant corruption in smaller prisons nationwide.
The group Equal Justice Under Law filed a lawsuit against Harris County Jail in defense of those who are incarcerated because they cannot pay bail and aren’t allowed to have assistance from a defense attorney or even argue on their own behalf, RT reported.
The lawsuit says, “Harris County’s wealth-based pretrial detention system violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the United States Constitution. It has no place in modern American law.”
In Harris County, Texas, an estimated 77 percent of the imprisoned population is in jail because they cannot afford bail to get out. What’s most outraging is that this incarcerated group has yet to be convicted of crimes, but remain locked up without a fair trial.
Speaking to the extreme poverty in the area, Gerald Wheeler, a retired director of Harris County Pretrial Services, led a recent study, finding that 81 percent of people charged with misdemeanors will spend time in jail. A quarter of those aren’t able to afford bail costing $500 or less. According to the study, “Only 7 percent were released on a personal bond.”
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