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National bail fund exits Georgia over new law that expands cash bail and limits groups that help

ATLANTA (AP) — The Bail Project, a national nonprofit that aids thousands of low-income people who are behind bars, announced Monday that it has closed its Atlanta branch due to a new Georgia law that expands cash bail and restricts organizations that post inmates’ bonds as they await trial.

Senate Bill 63, which goes into effect next month, requires cash bail for 30 additional crimes, including 18 that are always or often misdemeanors, including failure to appear in court for a traffic citation.

It also limits people and organizations from posting more than three cash bonds in a year unless they meet requirements to become bail bond companies — a process involving passing background checks, paying fees, holding a business license, securing the local sheriff’s approval and establishing a cash escrow account or other form of collateral.

Cash bail perpetuates a two-tiered system of justice, where two people accused of the same offense get drastically different treatment — those who can afford bail are released while those who cannot often remain incarcerated for months on end awaiting court dates, The Bail Project’s statement said.

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