The Federalist Society hosted a teleforum on money bail and pretrial detention with Right on Crime’s Marc Levin and John-Michael Seibler of the Heritage Foundation. Levin outlined the financial impact of pretrial detention and the role fines and fees play in contributing to the pretrial population. Often times, people are detained pretrial due to inability to afford cash bail – or a traffic violation fee. Levin underlines the fact that putting people in jail who can’t afford a fine has counterproductive results as it’s proven to be an unsuccessful means for collecting debt – and creates more costs to taxpayers.

Currently, “60 percent of people in jail are awaiting trial,” Levin said. That means pretrial incarceration is costing the nation roughly $13.6 billion every year. According to Levin, jails become the only solution when states fail to invest in cost-saving alternatives such as treatment for mental health or substance abuse. By enabling police officers to screen and divert eligible, low-level offenders away from jail and into treatment – taxpayer costs are reduced and recidivism rates can decline.

Hear more about how we can hold people accountable to their offenses – or debt – without burdening taxpayers with costly jail sentences by listening to the teleforum online at The Federalist Society.