Governor Approves Bail Fund Law

Governor Approves Bail Fund Law

( – On Wednesday, May 1, Georgia’s Republican Governor signed controversial legislation that will extend the list of criminal offenses that require cash bail and outlaw some bail funds. Governor Brian Kemp said the move was necessary to keep dangerous criminals off the streets and prevent them from committing further crimes. Charges added to the list include obstruction of a police officer and unlawful assembly, which apply to protesters who objected to the construction of a new Public Safety Training Center in Atlanta.

The center, known as “Cop City,” was the scene of demonstrations last year, where protesters were arrested for throwing Molotov cocktails, rocks, and other projectiles at police.

The new legislation will furthermore turn it into a misdemeanor for “any individual, corporation, organization, charity, nonprofit corporation, or group in any jurisdiction” to post bail for defendants more than three times per year. Several groups and charities routinely pay bail costs for individuals arrested during political demonstrations or defendants of a specific group or demographic. For example, Southerners On New Ground pays bail fees for black mothers.

The bill’s opponents say it will advantage those who can afford to bail themselves out of jail and exacerbate legal inequality. They also argue that it will increase the pressure on already overcrowded prisons. The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia said the Republican-backed law is a step backward “in terms of people being equal before the law.”

Governor Kemp, however, insisted that law enforcement officers “are chasing the same people over and over again,” because they are let out of jail by lenient judges.

On the same day, the Peach State Governor signed another piece of contentious legislation that requires law enforcement officers to report the immigration status, offenses, and home countries of individuals in the custody of the Department of Corrections.

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