My name is Andrea. I am currently a single mom of six. I’m 35, yeah. And I work full-time for a company by the name of USAA, a lot of people are familiar. I’ve been there for seven years. I’m a customer service representative. And I like to cook. I like to exercise. I was raised in Brooklyn, New York in the projects. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Jay-Z, but yeah I grew up there.
I moved to Louisville, Kentucky when I was about 10 going on 11. And um when I moved here I really couldn’t read, I couldn’t write. I could write, but I wasn’t on the reading level. Um so moving to Kentucky that is one of the good things. But I’ve been here for a while now. The difference between like the countryside of Kentucky versus Louisville the city side? Just the different nationalities in Louisville versus you won’t find that in Eastern Kentucky, or you won’t find that in Elizabethtown. It’s just the difference of – it’s the diversity, is the difference.
Being in jail was the most horrible experience ever. You get treated like you are not human. I thought that it was innocent until proven guilty, but once those cuffs go on your hand you’re basically guilty. My children was my biggest concern while I was in jail. My incarceration really affected my children really bad. I seen in my five-year-old Paris when I got out of jail like it was a separation problem. Like I would go to the bathroom and she would cry. And she would be like, are you going to leave me again? And I’d be like, no I’m not, I’m not going anywhere. I’m here. And my son he has ADHD, my son Dante. He has ADHD already so he goes through the emotional ups and downs. The whole 12 days I was locked up he cried. And he didn’t want to go to school, he was depressed. He just didn’t, he just felt out of place because his provider wasn’t there. The person that he knows is going to make sure he’s good wasn’t there. So it was really hard for them to kind of adjust with me not being around.
The first thing I did when I was released from jail was hug my daughter Paris. If The Bail Project wouldn’t have post my bail honestly I would have never made it to my son’s graduation. The feeling of seeing my first child walk across the stage was incredible! Like it was in a major accomplishment. My relationship with me and my oldest son Jay’Shawne is it’s a special relationship. Yeah that’s my baby, that’s my life. That’s my lifeline. We done been through traveling in New York, me pregnant having a baby. He was actually there when I was delivering his sister. So like, we done been through some things. And he’s out beat so many obstacles. And it’s just like, it’s a beautiful thing. To have a child that’s never gotten in trouble as a teenager, who’s always passed through school, graduated at the age of 17, has a full ride scholarship. In my eyes my son is perfect. And it just makes me thrive to want more. Because he’s so humble. And that’s a good feeling, when you have a child that’s humble who can adjust and adapt to good, bad, and excellent.
All boils down to if it wasn’t for The Bail Project I was not going to be able to get to my son’s graduation. And I wouldn’t have been able to be with my children, so it’s a lot that it’s a domino effect of the good in this company and the good in this program. And it needs to be around. These are one of the programs that would benefit not only me as a minority, but everybody else who’s affected by the judicial system. Who’s not able to bond out. Who’s not able to afford a $25,000 10% cash bond. Who has a life, and you know, who wants to get back to life. So I really appreciate you all for that. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
One of the many hidden consequences of the US cash-bail system is the effect it has on women and their families. The majority of incarcerated women in jails are mothers with children under 18, like Andrea, a single-mother of six from Louisville. Most incarcerated women haven’t been convicted of a crime, yet they are forced to stay behind bars because they cannot afford to post bail. As a result, they often miss important milestones in their children’s lives. Andrea was looking forward to celebrating her son’s high school graduation. A few weeks before the big day, she was arrested and held on $25,000 bond. It was more than Andrea could afford.
“I think the system here in Kentucky is built on money. It’s built on being able to lock up the poor, to take money from the poor, to be able to gain money from the poor and to keep you poor,” Andrea said.
Watch the video above to learn how The Bail Project was able to help.
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.