Our Approach

The Bail Project  /  Our Approach

On any given night in America, nearly half a million people sit in jail before trial, mainly 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 several factors, including the rate of pretrial incarceration, racial disparities in the jail population, and momentum for bail reform.


We partner with local organizations and public defender offices to identify people in need of bail assistance and provide community-based services and support upon release.


Along with our bailouts and direct services, we use the power of human stories and data to make the public case for ending cash bail and investing in communities and alternatives to incarceration.


We believe that ending cash bail is one of the defining civil rights and racial justice issues of our day. Through our efforts, we seek to eliminate cash bail and ultimately put ourselves out of business. Learn more about our vision.

Community Release with Support

Nearly 500,000 individuals, companies, and foundations power The Bail Project with contributions of all sizes and their belief that rights should never be for sale and freedom should be free. Thanks to their generosity, we can provide free bail assistance to thousands of low-income people every year. Once free, we support them in coming back to court and we work with local partners to provide wrap-around services if needed. We call this model Community Release with Support. Here’s how it works.

Bail Assistance

Once someone is referred to The Bail Project, a member of our staff will schedule an interview to learn more about the person’s situation and needs. If eligible for our program, we post bail directly to the court at no cost to the person or their family.

Court Support

We provide court notifications and transportation assistance to help our clients return to court and resolve their cases. If obstacles arise, we help problem-solve.

Client Advocacy

In addition to court support, we use an individualized needs assessment to connect our clients to voluntary services and resources based on their identified needs, including housing, substance use treatment, employment, and mental health care.


Our approach is community-based and needs-focused. On average, our clients return to 90% of their court dates without having a financial obligation to us or the courts, laying waste to the myth that money is what makes people come back. Learn more.

Where We Work

We provide bail assistance in the following jurisdictions while working in coalition to eliminate cash bail. Click on the locations to learn more about each site.  to be notified when we launch in a new city!

Where We Work Placeholder
Where We Work

Our Partners

Meet our incredible partner organizations. From direct services and advocacy to research and storytelling, these are some of the partners we’ve teamed up with over the years.