Philadelphia policy reforms might allow over a thousand people that missed their bail payments to be released from prison. This opportunity comes in the wake of a new policy in which prosecutors will stop requesting payment for low-level crimes.
The city's District Attorney Larry Krasner announced the directive last month.
“We can not only try to make things better going forward but we can try to address the population in jail now,” he said in an interview with the Associated Press.
Analysts have confirmed that it’s too early to tell how many inmates have the potential to have their bail thrown out. Also, since the final decision to release inmates is up to the judge, it is unclear how many of those imprisoned will successfully be released.
Over the past few years, Philadelphia officials have pushed to address the city's imprisoned population. Since 2015, the number of people in Philadelphia’s prisons has fell roughly 24 percent. This comes after the decision to decriminalize minor offenses, such as .
A law professor at Temple University, Jules Epstein, said that he believes Krasner’s policy provides inmates with a method to challenge their punishment.
“It certainly is not unreasonable for any inmate to say, ‘Hey you’ve agreed that the bail system is broken, you’ve agreed that people in my condition shouldn’t be held, how about me too,'” she told the AP.
This is not the first of Krasner's more progressive policy changes. With a background of a civil right's attorney, Krasner aligns himself with many of the causes furthered by former presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders. He's also created an immigration council position to protect the rights of Philadelphia’s immigrant population.