The Price of Freedom

By Mitch Ryals

Published in The Inlander on September 09, 2015 


“In a country that incarcerates more people awaiting trial than any other in the world — about 500,000 people on any given day, according to the National Institute of Corrections — the consequences of lockup, even for a few days, are well established. People lose jobs and the ability to pay back their debts. They’re kicked out of their homes. Parents lose custody of children. Their mental health deteriorates. Some die.

“The Inland Northwest is no exception to the national trend. Half of the Spokane County Jail’s population in 2014 was people awaiting trial, and a one-day snapshot in June of this year reveals that 440 out of 610 inmates — 72 percent — were held on bail. Similarly, a one-day snapshot of Kootenai County’s jail population reveals that 74 percent were accused, but not convicted.”

Read more: The Price of Freedom