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ACLU sues El Paso County over pay or stay jail fee - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

ACLU sues El Paso County over pay or stay jail fee

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EL PASO COUNTY -

Colorado’s American Civil Liberties Union is filing suit against El Paso County claiming a fess for a pre-trial jail release program, is unconstitutional and unfair to people living in poverty. It is $55. The ACLU’s Legal Director, Mark Silverstein says it is the equivalent of a “debtors' prison” when someone is so deep in poverty they cannot afford to pay it.  "With this lawsuit we intend to end this unconstitutional policy," said Silverstein

The pretrial release program is in place to help relieve jail overcrowding. It is a system of supervising people facing non-violent charges and released by a judge to the program while they wait for trial. “A judge can waive the fee,” said El Paso County, Communications Director, Dave Rose. The fee funds the monitoring and county leaders say it is good program.

The case is filed on behalf  of Jasmine Still.  She was in jail for the first time on drug charges. The ACLU says a courts granted her release without bond, but she ended up in jail for 27 days because she did not have the $55 fee charged by the county.  Along with challenging policy, the suit seeks compensation Still. 

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