Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Pretrial Justice Movement in 2014

Last night on television, Thomas Cahill, a man who has studied and written about history his whole life, mentioned in passing that he believed all historical movements to be either based in kindness or cruelty. Perhaps it is that simple. Certainly it is in bail, where the entire movement toward a secured money system administered by commercial sureties in America was described by Robert Kennedy in 1964 as “cruel and costly.”

But if it is cruelty that has led us to this place in history, then it is surely a movement of kindness that seeks to take its place. Pretrial justice in America is merely a movement of kindness – kindness toward all persons, especially those whom the Bible calls the least of us.

2014 will be a year in which all Americans understand that the infusion of secured money into bail has resulted in a bail system with cruelty at its very core. Hopefully, they will also understand that it will be empathy and kindness – a movement of  kindness  practiced by those who seek only to follow God’s will – that can alter a system from which so many profit.