No ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ Solution to the Province’s Bail System
Toronto Star reports, Black people in Ontario spend more time in jail awaiting trial than white people, even when charged with the same type of crime, according to data recently released by the province. Government officials admit it’s yet another systemic barrier faced by minorities as they manoeuvre through the justice system, and say they are working to find solutions.
Falconers LLP lawyer, Anthony Morgan stated, “there is systemic anti-Black racism in that there are many in the legal system who are not trained, encouraged or directed to consider the systemic barriers facing African-Canadians when they call for a surety.” A surety is a friend or family member who agrees to supervise the accused in the community and forfeit a specified sum of money if bail conditions are violated.
“If you look at the stats of socio-economic marginalization, African-Canadians are dramatically overrepresented in unemployment, underemployment and poverty rates,” he said “So when you call on that same community to have to present a surety, there are barriers.
Morgan commented further saying, “the province’s solutions don’t go far enough, because they don’t explicitly identify anti-Black racism as a problem within our justice system, within how decisions are made at every level… until we get there…no one-size-fits-all program is going to help adjust these very particular disparities affecting African-Canadians.”
In the News
Race matters when awaiting trial, data shows Toronto Star, October 22, 2017