Faith leaders to prosecutor: End money bail practice

CLAYTON, Mo. – Faith leaders are urging St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch to join several other urban prosecutors in ending the money bail system that keeps poor people awaiting trial in jail, often for several months, simply because they can’t afford the cost of getting out.

Advocates for bail reform gathered Thursday outside the St. Louis County Justice Center to ask that prosecutors stop seeking bail for non-violent crimes.

A spokesman for McCulloch declined comment.

In St. Louis County, as in many jurisdictions, prosecutors recommend a bail amount and the judge decides. Amounts vary depending on the crime. Reform advocates say recidivism is higher for those who can’t get out.

Prosecutors in Richmond, Virginia, Philadelphia and Chicago in the past year have instituted new policies ending or reducing use of money bail.