Series shows impact of cash-bail system on poor and minority Connecticut residents

Jean Conquistador, left, speaks at a trial at the New Britain courthouse, next to his deputy assistant public defender, Joshua Perldeiner. Conquistador was incarcerated for about two months earlier this year because he couldn't afford to pay the bond set at $45,000. YEHYUN KIM / CTMIRROR.ORG

While other criminal justice reform advanced in Connecticut over the last couple of years, one increasingly contentious issue was untouched – elimination of cash bail.  With support from the Fund, reporter Kelan Lyons of the Connecticut Mirror spent a year observing court proceedings in Hartford and New Britain, conducting several dozen interviews, and crunching state data to show that even though prison and jail populations in the state had declined since a peak in 2008, about 40 percent of those behind bars were being held ahead of trial, having been unable to post bail. His three-part series showed the impact cash bail has, particularly on low-income people and people of color.