EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4/AP) — A lawsuit alleges that a Colorado woman and dozens of other people remained jailed for days after being granted bond because they could not pay a $55 fee.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado said in a statment, “This policy has caused the illegal imprisonment of hundreds of pre-trial detainees, who are innocent in the eyes of the law and have only been charged with, not convicted of, a crime.”
The ACLU filed the federal lawsuit against El Paso County on Tuesday, arguing that the woman should have been released when a judge granted her a personal recognizance bond.
Instead, the lawsuit says 26-year-old Jasmine Still was held in the county’s jail for 27 more days because she couldn’t pay the county’s pre-trial fee.
“Jailing someone because of their poverty is not only cruel, it is unconstitutional,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein.
The ACLU only named Still in the lawsuit, but attorneys say county records showed 51 people were kept in jail this fall for failure to pay the fee.
County spokesmen Dave Rose and Matt Steiner didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.
LINK: ACLU Complaint
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