Monday, March 4, 2024

Aiming for fairness, Norfolk puts limits on cash bail

NORFOLK — The top prosecutor in Virginia’s second largest city says his office will end cash bail in many cases.

The changes are an effort to avoid the “criminalization of poverty” while making the system fairer for people of color.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Greg Underwood said: “If you’re poor and you happen to be black, then chances are your rate of incarceration is higher.”

Underwood said bail shouldn’t “needlessly” make a defendant’s life harsher than it should be.

Someone charged with a misdemeanor can be released without putting up bail. Someone accused of a felony can be released without bond under certain conditions like pretrial supervision.

Defendants would still be subject to cash bail in cases of domestic violence, felony violence, stalking and other violent crimes.

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