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Video Transcript

Hey! I’m Hannah with The Bail Project. We’re here in Kentucky asking folks all over the state what they think about bail. What is bail? I don’t know. I don’t claim to understand the justice system. Yes, what is bail? I don’t know. From what I’ve learned is that bail is essentially a price that you pay while you’re awaiting trial to be able to leave jail. So if you can’t afford bail, you stay in jail until your trial. But if you have the funds to do so, you can then leave and then with the promise of coming back.

Did you know that in more than half of cases Kentuckians cannot afford to pay their bail and remain in jail until trial? No, I did not know that. We’re not exactly the richest state and everybody’s really, I mean, everyone I know is working blue collar jobs. Once you fall into a hole I mean it’s hard to get back out, you know, it’s very hard. I would never be able to afford bail nor no one in my family. So if you know the standard person can’t, why can the rich people? It’s not fair, not fair at all. We should all be treated equally, regardless if we have money or not. I mean I’m from southeastern Kentucky, so people really don’t have the funds for a lot of things, so I could imagine that a more like poverty-driven state would probably have issues with paying bail.

Do you think it’s fair that people with money can pay to get out and people without money have to stay in jail until their trial? No, I don’t think it’s fair at all. No, it’s class warfare. No, it’s not fair, it’s not right. Just because you got money in this country you can do whatever you want. Oh, it’s not fair at all. But that’s the way it’s always been. It’s something I don’t see changing. It’s a privilege when you have money, so yeah, I don’t know how you would even combat that one.

So there is an alternative, something we’ve been doing at The Bail Project for years, it’s called Community Release with Support. People are released from jail, we send them text reminders for their court dates, we give them free rides to court, connect them to services in their communities, and people return to their court dates with no financial obligation. Do you think we should use that in place of cash bail? That sounds like good idea that might help some people. I don’t see why not. It’s keeping people with their families, jobs. Hell yeah. I mean and if not I mean that’s definitely a good start. That is I mean I’d support that 100% compared to what we have now. Yeah, because as a taxpayer I am paying for them to hold them in jail, you know, it’s money out of my pocket. You know this is on the taxpayers dime that you’re holding people. Any alternative to holding people who are presumed innocent is a good alternative in my opinion.

And do you believe in the presumption of innocence? Absolutely. Absolutely, I do. Yes. Yes, I do. Yes. Yes. Oh yeah. Yeah, sure, of course. I mean the whole system is founded on a presumption of innocence. Well, that’s the way it used to be. Now you’re guilty until proven innocent. There seems to be maybe some glitches. We need major reform. I don’t know what it is I wish I was smart enough to know, but you guys are trying to do something I guess that’s a good thing. I believe in what y’all are doin. That’s fair. I appreciate it. God bless y’all. 

Throughout Kentucky we spoke to people on the street to hear what they think about the cash bail system. Kentucky spends $140 million per year incarcerating people pretrial. In over half of these cases, those held in jail pretrial cannot afford their bail, and Kentucky taxpayers foot the bill. Kentucky’s pretrial incarceration rate is among the highest in all of America. Watch the video to hear why people want real solutions to the bail crisis.

Thank you for engaging with our content. People like you make a better world possible – a world where justice is not determined by someone’s wealth. The Bail Project is not only an immediate lifeline for people held on unaffordable cash bail, but a growing megaphone for public education and social change. If you have the means and found value in our content, please consider becoming a donor today.

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Director of Creative and Marketing

Shannon Soper

As the Director of Creative and Marketing, Soper oversees all aspects of The Bail Project’s marketing strategy and content development and is responsible for accelerating systems change through brand recognition and public education nationwide. Since joining the organization in 2018, she has driven web, video, and social media innovation, cultivating an in-house creative team and establishing the Creative and Marketing Department. Soper has over a decade of leadership in nonprofit strategic communications, having served as Communications Director at Dignity and Power Now and as College Campaigns Strategist for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). A champion for expanding access to digital assets for activists and movements, Soper founded her own company in 2016 to provide subsidized web development and creative multimedia to disadvantaged organizations. She began her advocacy career leading teams on the ground, furthering public awareness on large scale concert tours and creating institutional change at over 100 colleges and universities nationwide. Her public speaking, writing, photography, video, and web features have been featured by a wide range of outlets, including USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, and NPR.