Civil Rights Commission fails to make reform recommendation

In this Dec. 23, 2015, file photo, a number of bail bonds offices are seen across from the Hall of Justice in San Francisco, California.

U.S. jails are increasingly holding people who have not been convicted of a crime even as overall prison numbers decreased this past decade, with the vast majority of pretrial detainees being people of color who can’t afford their cash bail.

That’s according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Among its takeaway is that 60% of people awaiting trial remain in jail, at greater cost to taxpayers, simply because they can’t afford bail, commission chair Norma Cantú told reporters in a phone call Thursday.

But the political polarization around the issue was evident in the commission members’ own responses to their report, which included fiery write-ups, a dissent and a rebuttal.

Most notably, the report was released without findings and recommendations for policy action by the president or Congress because the ideologically split commissioners failed to garner a majority to approve their release. The 4-4 split was the product of appointments made by President Donald Trump in the year before he left office.

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