As thousands of individuals take to the streets for Pride celebrations this month, the crowd is bound to get a bit rowdy… which means arrests are bound to happen.
While being arrested and held on bail can be a difficult experience for anyone, members of the LGBTQ community face an extra set of problems. Mainly, how do you navigate a system that forces uniformity and often judges individuals based on their sexual identity and preferences?
LGBTQ in the Criminal Justice System
A briefing in the Prison Policy Initiative blog found that “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are overrepresented at every stage of the criminal justice system, starting with juvenile justice system involvement. They are arrested, incarcerated, and subjected to community supervision at significantly higher rates than straight and cisgender people.”
Not only are LGBTQ people arrested more often than straight people (gay, lesbian, and bisexual women are 4 times as likely to be arrested as straight women, and gay and bisexual men are 1.35 times as likely to be arrested than straight men), they are also incarcerated at three times the rate of straight people. When they enter the prison system, the situation only gets worse. LGBTQ individuals are victimized by staff 5.4% more often than straight prisoners, and they are victimized by another incarcerated person 12.2% more often than straight prisoners.
While there are obviously deep-seated systemic issues that need to be addressed within the criminal justice system, these will not be fixed overnight. With Pride festivities in West Hollywood and around the country, the current best course of action for members of the LGBTQ community is prevention.
What Happens If I’m Arrested
Obviously, the best way to stay out of the criminal justice system and avoid becoming a statistic is to not commit a crime. That being said, people are arrested for crimes they didn’t commit, every day. People are forced into committing a crime in order to defend themselves or a loved one. And, sometimes, people just have one too many drinks, and do things they wouldn’t normally do.
In any of these situations, you will likely be arrested and your next best course of action is to limit the time spent detained so you can mitigate the physical, mental, and emotional damage caused by the experience.
Will I Be Granted Bail
Make no mistake, bail is a constitutional right independent of a person’s sexual identity or preferences, skin color, religion, socioeconomic status, etc. It is however dependent on the crime you’ve been accused of, your ties to the community, and a variety of other factors. Whether or not you will be granted bail, as well as the amount of the bail that is set, will be determined after reviewing the following:
- What is the crime you’ve been charged with?
- Have you been arrested in the past?
- If you were arrested, did you attend all required court dates?
- What ties do you have to the community? This includes employment, professional and social organizations, your time spent in the community, etc.
- Are you responsible for caring for children or elderly family members?
- What is the likelihood that you will commit another crime?
When you are arraigned, the judge’s goal is to determine whether you are a danger to the community and whether you are a flight risk. If you are unlikely to harm anyone but likely to show up for your court date, you will probably be granted reasonable bail.
What If I Can’t Afford Bail
The term “reasonable” is in the eye of the beholder. For one individual, a $15,000 bail may just require a quick phone call and a trip (by a loved one) to the bank. For another individual, a $1,500 bail may be completely impossible. The one thing that judges don’t take into account? Your income.
For individuals who live paycheck to paycheck, posting bail may mean the difference between paying rent that month or finding themselves and their family members out on the street.
Of course, staying in jail until your court date is always an option. You also have the constitutional right to a speedy trial and if you remain incarcerated, the judge will do his or her best to schedule your trial quickly. “Quickly” though, is another subjective word.
While remaining in jail isn’t necessarily a death sentence, for some individuals, it can be a dangerous proposition. Transgender woman, Layleen Xtravaganza Cubilette-Polanco, was found dead at Rikers Island after she was unable to post bail and was put into “restrictive housing” (similar to solitary confinement) despite the fact that her epilepsy was “well known” to the Department of Corrections. She was placed in this type of cell after assaulting a fellow incarcerated individual. However, it does beg the question, what precipitated the assault?
Jail is a rather judgmental and unforgiving environment, and this proves even more true for members of the LGBTQ community. If you are unable to afford bail for yourself or for an incarcerated family member, please consider speaking with a bail bondsman.
Will a Bail Bondsman Post my Bail
A local bail bond agent can help you navigate your release from jail – providing that they themselves are open-minded, non-judgmental, and an advocate for LGBTQ rights.
Rather than being responsible for the entire amount of the bail set, you will post 10% to secure the bond, and the bail bondsman will post the rest. They often require collateral in the form of property to minimize their financial risk.
LGBTQ Friendly Bail Bonds in California
Dan’s Bail Bonds is proud to support all members of the LGBTQ community. We never pass judgment and can get you out of jail quickly and painlessly so you can return to the safety of your life. Contact us today for your West Hollywood bail bond needs as well as Los Angeles, Rancho Cucamonga, and Van Nys. Dan’s Bail Bonds is mobile and open 24 hours. Don’t stay in jail. If you’re LGBTQ and have been arrested, call us and let us get you out.