The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


The only factor determining the release of a defendant from custody before his trial date is money. The government should eliminate the current bail system and replace it with mandated pre-trial release unless the state can prove the defendant to be a flight risk or a danger to society. This bail system has an adverse economic impact on minorities and on poor communities. Some states have used their constitutions to implement pre-trial release. Texas has four constitutional provisions which would permit similar implementations. However, clashing political ideologies and institutional alliances continue to prevent the construction of a workable solution. Dismantling the commercialization of the bail industry could eliminate judges appearing to be silent beneficiaries of the system. Overwhelming statistics show indigent defendants who are unable to post bond plead guilty, despite their innocence.  Bail has always been a method of payment for one’s freedom. The bail system deprives citizens of their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Deprivation of life occurs when placing a citizen in jail before their trial and discriminatorily interrupting their interactions with the world. Holding a citizen hostage until they pay the courts a ransom for their freedom deprives those citizens of their liberty. Depriving a citizen’s pursuit of happiness and auctioning them off to commercial bail bondsmen in order to receive his freedom paper is unjust. The bail system is a form of modern-day slavery which exists despite laws against human trafficking and slavery. Eliminating the bail system and labeling it unconstitutional is the best way to protect defendants’ rights and prevent further harm.

Volume Number


Issue Number



St. Mary's University School of Law