There’s nothing quite like being surrounded by the warmth of loved ones during the holidays. For the nearly half a million people currently incarcerated pretrial in the U.S., the chance to be home for the holidays means everything. But, for that to become a reality for many, it takes the power of a community. It takes the gift of freedom.
Every day, the generosity of Bail Project supporters across the nation enables our team to help people in their darkest hour – bailing them out of jail and helping them navigate the criminal legal system by connecting them to community-based services as they await trial. For many of our clients, paying their bail can change the course of their life.
Our client Ashley, who was nearly eight months pregnant when the Oklahoma City police threw her to the ground and forced her into handcuffs because of an outstanding warrant, knows how damaging pretrial incarceration is. Like the countless people who miss court dates daily for numerous reasons, Ashley was arrested for unintentionally missing her court date. Still, a judge set her bail at an unaffordable $11,500, resulting in her being incarcerated in one of the deadliest correctional facilities in the country for three weeks. She was terrified she’d have to deliver her baby in jail.
When our client Sandra was involved in a dispute with her landlord, she was arrested and held on $150,000 bail. While in jail, Sandra lost her job and her car and feared losing custody of her children. Her sister could not care for them much longer after Sandra was incarcerated and considered putting them in foster care.
When Robert, who suffered from lupus, back pain, arthritis, and kidney problems and was experiencing homelessness, was pulled over while giving a friend a ride, he was shocked to learn his friend had illegal drugs. Both he and his friend were arrested on the spot. Robert spent nearly a month in jail because he couldn’t afford his $2,000 bail.
Stories like Ashley’s, Sandra’s, and Robert’s are why your support is so important – our incredible community stepped up in their greatest time of need to secure their freedom and connect them to voluntary support services.
For many people trapped behind bars pretrial, they are left with an impossible choice – making it home to their families often means having to accept a plea and forfeit their innocence. By providing free bail assistance, we are able to reunite families and restore the presumption of innocence. Our supporters make it possible to secure freedom for thousands of Americans yearly and help create a more just and equitable pretrial system.
At The Bail Project, we’ve seen families of all shapes and sizes. When Sherry was arrested and lost her dog, her world came to a halt. Sherry and her 14-year-old Shih Tzu, Onyx, were inseparable. When Sherry was arrested for having drugs in her car, her only thought was when she’d see Onyx again. Unfortunately, Sherry’s story doesn’t have a happy ending. After multiple attempts, Sherry was never reunited with Onyx, leaving a permanent hole in her heart. But from a place of freedom, Sherry can focus on healing from the emotional trauma she endured.
Cash bail doesn’t just ruin lives; it can cause damage to families. When Michael fell on hard times, his sister Taylor was also affected. Michael struggled for years with substance dependence, homelessness, and anxiety and had been incarcerated before. When Michael was arrested for drug possession, his sister Taylor was devastated. Unable to afford bail, the two felt hopeless. However, Michael was released from pretrial incarceration with the help of The Bail Project. The support of The Bail Project communities not only restores our clients’ hope but also gives entire families a second chance.
Our generous community provides immediate relief to those incarcerated pretrial while working to take money out of the criminal justice system for good. Because of people who care about ending cash bail – like you – we’re working toward a future where freedom doesn’t come with a price tag.
Thank you for reading this article and engaging with our work. Supporters like you are the backbone of our organization and how we are able to continue working towards our mission of creating a fairer system while paying bail for those in need for free. If you found value in this article, please consider donating to help sustain our work today.