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January 21, 2010 Two-thirds of the inmates in U.S. jails are petty, nonviolent offenders who are there for only one reason: They can't afford their bail. Sometimes, it's as little as $50. Some will wait behind bars for as long as a year before their cases make it to court. And it will cost taxpayers $9 billion this year to house them.
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January 22, 2010 Shadu Green was like hundreds of thousands of inmates nationwide who can't afford bail or a bondsman's fee. So Green, who insists he is not guilty of a series of misdemeanors after getting pulled over for speeding, had to decide whether to fight his case from jail or plead guilty and get out faster. Studies show that internal debate usually works in prosecutors' favor.
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January 22, 2010 The pretrial release program in Broward County, Fla., was working, but commissioners voted to gut the program nonetheless. Industry experts say powerful bail lobbying groups have begun using Broward as a road map of how to squash similar programs elsewhere.
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