On any given night in America, there are nearly half a million people sitting in jail before trial simply because they can’t afford bail. The money bail crisis hits every corner of the U.S., from the largest cities to the smallest towns.
So, how do we decide where to go?
We select cities and towns based on many factors, including local need, size of the pretrial population, and racial disparities.
We look for local partners who can help us identify people in pretrial detention or at risk of it, and provide support upon release.
We look for jurisdictions where our work can make a difference, from preventing the construction of a new jail to supporting local movements for equal justice and providing data to inform bail reform.
Our goal is to put ourselves out of business. We look for a community of allies and supporters with a shared mission to combat mass incarceration and establish a pretrial alternative that is grounded in the presumption of innocence for all, regardless of race, income, or charge.
Our national revolving bail fund provides free bail assistance to low-income individuals who are legally presumed innocent, and whom a judge has deemed eligible for release before trial contingent on paying bail. We enable our clients to return home to their families and communities while awaiting their court dates. We call this model Community Release with Support. Here’s how it works:
We work with public defenders and community-based organizations to identify people in need of bail assistance. We also research jail websites to find people trapped by unaffordable cash bail.
After interviewing each client and determining eligibility, we pay their bail and develop a support strategy to ensure they can come back to court and engage with their legal process in a meaningful way.
We remind clients about their court dates and help problem solve when obstacles arise.
We connect clients to voluntary services and provide support, including transportation assistance, as needed.
We elevate our clients’ experiences through storytelling and collect data to support advocacy and foster public understanding of the need for reform.
The Bail Project consists of a central support office and a growing network of community-based teams. Known as Bail Disruptors and Client Advocates, these passionate activists, many of whom have experienced the bail system firsthand, lead our work at the local level.
The Bail Project is on a five-year plan to scale across America and turn the tide on mass incarceration. We currently operate in the following jurisdictions. Sign up to be notified when we launch in a new city!
Meet the incredible organizations we work with! From direct services and advocacy to research and storytelling, these are the partners that make our work possible.