As Americans, we are taught that the bedrock of our criminal legal system is the presumption of innocence, a fundamental right designed to protect us against wrongful conviction and incarceration. And yet, every day in courtrooms across the United States, this right goes up for sale in the form of cash bail.
The imposition of unaffordable cash bail is the leading driver of pretrial incarceration in the United States, which accounts for nearly 100 percent of jail growth in the past 20 years. While the wealthy can typically pay bail and walk free shortly after an arrest, low-income Americans facing the same charges and bail amounts often spend weeks or months in jail waiting for their day in court. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Launched in 2018, The Bail Project is a national nonprofit organization on a mission to combat mass incarceration by transforming the pretrial system in the U.S. Using a National Revolving Bail Fund, its community-based teams work with local partners to bring free bail assistance to thousands of people each year, reducing the human suffering caused by unaffordable cash bail, restoring the presumption of innocence, and building on the work of grassroots movements for decarceration. In August 2019, The Bail Project opened a site in Cleveland.
Join us as Robin Steinberg, founder and CEO of The Bail Project, discusses the crisis of unaffordable cash bail and shares The Bail Project’s vision for transforming the pretrial system to become more equitable, humane, and just.
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