The Bail Project – Louisville serves people incarcerated at the Metro Department of Corrections in the District and Circuit Court systems of Jefferson County.
Bail practices are “wildly inconsistent” across Kentucky, with some counties imposing bond on the vast majority of people while others move away from the practice. Kentucky was also an early adopter of pretrial algorithms to determine whether to release people from jail, which an authoritative study found to have exacerbated racial and income disparities—the exact opposite of the state’s intended effect. In Louisville, one of our first sites, some prominent officials and judges are in support of bail reform, creating political schisms with the city’s police department and more conservative judges. We’ve partnered with Presbyterian Church U.S.A. to advocate for the end of cash bail in the city, and we’re working with the Louisville Metro Public Defender’s Office, Louisville Family Justice Advocates, and the University of Louisville Anne Branden Institute for Social Justice Research to serve as many people as we can.
Louisville’s jail is severely overcrowded, and over three quarters were being held for pretrial detention when The Bail Project opened our site there.
Almost 30% of the people in Kentucky’s prisons and jails are Black, despite being just 8% of the population.
About a fourth of the people jailed at the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections are on medications designed to treat psychiatric conditions.
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