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Black man spent 16 months in jail because he couldn’t afford bail — even after he beat the charges

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In February 2017, Virgil Lee Adams was arrested and charged with robbery and assault. In August, he was found not guilty, the Portland Mercury in Oregon reports.

Yet, he spent 16 months in jail on unrelated charges—even though he hadn’t been found guilty of those crime, either.

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While behind bars Adams missed the birth of his child, but the community rallied around to get him out in time for Father’s Day, thanks to donations to Portland Bail Out, which paid his $10,000 bail, the Mercury reports.

“This case highlights the injustices of the cash bail system, a system that preys on people of color and the poor,” said Gina Spencer of Portland Bail Out.

The Bail Project describes the toll America’s cash bail system takes on prisoners.

“On any given night in America, 450,000 people are in local jails without being convicted of a crime — the vast majority of whom are there solely due to financial hardship,” they write. ” That’s about the total number of people who live in Miami.”

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As is true of all segments of America’s criminal justice system, poor people of color are the ones who suffer the brunt of the problem.

“These people are disproportionately of color, and for them, there are only two choices: Plead guilty to their charge, or sit in jail until backlogged court systems can hear their case — which can often take weeks or months. This isn’t how bail is supposed to work,” they write.

The U.S. bail system is supposed to serve as incentive to ensure the accused makes their court appearance.

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“It wasn’t intended to keep people in jail who couldn’t afford to pay,” the Bail Project explains.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump’s economic ‘brain trust’ ridiculed as America braces for a trade war recession: report

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Trump claimed North Korea missile testing ‘would stop’ — but they just launched again: report

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