Like many in Louisville, DeMontez found himself in an impossible situation: He had to attend court-mandated classes as part of his probationary sentences, but he didn’t have the money to pay for them or the transportation to get there.
As a result, warrants were issued for his arrest because he didn’t finish the classes. If he showed up to court, he likely would have been jailed and held on bail he couldn’t afford. There was also the chance police would come to arrest him at any time.
Going to jail would have done nothing but disrupt DeMontez’ life and make it even more difficult to achieve stability. When people are detained solely because they can’t afford bail, they stand to lose their homes, jobs, and even custody of their children.
The Bail Project was able to help DeMontez by posting his bail immediately after he turned himself in at the courthouse. He says he’s since stayed sober, kept his housing, and lined up a job to continue providing for his family.
Nobody should be in jail just because they can’t afford their freedom. We’ll continue serving folks like DeMontez who just want to get their life on track without getting further ensnared in the criminal legal system.
“The next president could support legislation to incentivize states in the other direction: abolish cash bail, invest in public defenders, and bolster fundamental services like mental health clinics, substance abuse centers and supportive housing in the communities most harmed by mass criminalization.”
Over half of the jail population in Washington County, Arkansas, “is made up of people waiting to see a judge. Some are non-violent offenders who can’t pay their bail – that’s where the non-profit the bail project comes in.”
The ruling in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals “expressly” bars a “two-tier bail system” in which “wealthy defendants are released to self-funded private jails” while “defendants of lesser means are detained pending trial.