Saturday, August 15, 2015

The "cruel and unusual" bail system in many states, and housing the homeless


German Lopez, of Vox Media, has a piece, “Why America’s bail system is cruel, in one paragraph”, link here.   Essentially, the system forces possibly innocent defendants to plead guilty even to get out of jail because going to trail takes so long (even given a Bill of Rights guarantee of a speedy trial).  Lopez uses a detailed story by Nick Pinto for the New York Times, “The Bail Trap”, here. One observation is that the federal system, used also locally in the District of Columbia, is much fairer, and uses home monitoring much more. 
   
Here’s another progressive piece on Vox about another matter, homelessness, by Matthew Yglesias. “Giving the homeless housing is three times cheaper than leaving them on the streets”.  But does that mean turning public buildings into shelters?  Where do you find the housing?  Do you “ask” people to house them?
  
Terrence McCoy has a related piece in the Washington Post on the "criminalization" of homelessness, here. 
    
Today there was a Community Assistance Event at Mt. Olivet Methodist Church in Arlington VA.  I often see people with homeless signs near intersections in Arlington, and stopping for them would create a hazard for other drivers.  Do they know there is a community assistance event one Saturday a month (the third) at that church?  In Baltimore, homeless people walk between lanes (or even ride in wheelchairs) into traffic at night on Martin Luther King Drive heading toward I-95, and police allow it. 

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