When the justice system is unjust, cash bail harms poor most

Shelton McElroy, national deputy director of operations for The Bail Project, a nonprofit organization that provides bail, told the group cash bail is driving enormous growth in the jail and prison systems. “If the criminal justice system was a car, bail is the fuel,” said McElroy.

“This is no way to run a justice system”: Detroit nonprofit works toward a future without bail

To further bail bond reform, the Detroit Justice Center has partnered with The Bail Project. The national nonprofit operates a bail fund that bonds low-income people out of jail for free. But the work goes beyond that, said Rasha Almulaiki, a self-described "bail disruptor" and Detroit advocate with The Bail Project.

One woman’s plan to reform a bail system that disadvantages poor defendants

"More than 100 women have been bailed out in Tulsa since January. One is Cynthia Reed, a middle-aged homeless woman from Texas arrested in May after she took a folder from a dumpster that allegedly contained a police document. Four days later, Mr. Baxter paid $3,000 to the court. 'I thought nobody was going to bail me out. Nobody knows me here,' she says."

Disrupting Bail: An Innovative Criminal Justice Reform Idea Gains Momentum—And Funders

"The [Bail Project's] disruptors operate in their home cities, partnering with local advocates and public defenders to identify potential clients. Meanwhile, national criminal justice reform organizations like JustLeadershipUSA and Families Against Mandatory Minimums have taken similar community-centered approaches."

Poverty Is Not A Crime

"So that’s where my career started 36 years ago, wanting to be the best public defender for my clients and eventually trying to reimagine the field and test new ideas. One of those ideas was the Bronx Freedom Fund, which I co-founded with David Feige. Jason and Joe [Flom] helped us start the Freedom Fund at a time when people weren’t talking about bail reform and no one else was willing to fund it. Trust me, we tried. It was Jason and his dad who saw the urgency of this issue and took a chance."