In his Jan. 7 commentary on the need for cash bail, Victor Joecks misses the point. He does acknowledge eventually that these accused people are considered innocent when bail is granted. What he neglects to mention is a fact that he should well know: There is only one purpose for bail and that is to ensure that the accused shows up for trial.
If two people with the same rap sheets and charges are before a judge, the reason one is released and the other is not should not be based on their access to funds. If any of these men had access to significant funding, they would have been freed anyway. The incarceration of poor people on an accusation that is eventually vacated by further investigation or trial has been shown to have a disproportionate effect on their lives and those of their families, something Mr. Joecks obviously does not care about.
The real issue is whether these people should have been granted bail at all. Judges have discretion to decide if the accused are a danger to the community and deny bail. They are not doing that. That is the issue that needs to be addressed. But the abuse of bail — using it for reasons other than to ensure the accused appears — is poor public policy.