The Bail Project

This week on PBS Newshour, Robin Steinberg, the Executive Director of The Bail Project discussed their mission. A former public defender, Steinberg established The Bail Project to combat mass incarceration of people who could not afford bail.

In America, she noted that 75% of those incarcerated are there because they could not afford bail. They either pleaded guilty to a crime of which they were accused or are awaiting trial. Bail was created as a form of release, but it is not a choice for far too many. Steinberg said you don’t want innocent people in jail for crimes they did not commit.

She added in our country we believe people are innocent until proven guilty and that should not depend on race or income. So, her organization posts bail for these individuals, so they can be home preparing for their trial. She added the money is returned once they stand trial and could be used again.

This idea has merit and is both sustainable and replicable. We already have over-crowded prisons coupled with many prison guard vacancies. Avoiding prison will help avoid recidivism and not expose innocent people to more hardened criminals.

Looking at their Board of Directors, I noticed three names: actor Danny Glover, singer/ songwriter John Legend and billionaire businessman Richard Branson. Hopefully, their notoriety and support will help others become more aware.

15 thoughts on “The Bail Project

  1. As “charitable organization” go it is a good thing. As “charitable organization” it deals with the consequences, not the cause which in this case is obviously a failed, run by greed justice system.

    • Sha’Tara, too right. The US prison system is largely run by for-profit companies. The focus is on profits and volume not incarceration. This trend of not being able to hire enough prison guards, makes these over-populated prisons powder kegs, some of which have already exploded. Keith

  2. An excellent cause! I took a quick trip to their website and two things immediately impressed me. First, their slogan: Poverty is not a crime. And second, that 100% of donations go directly to the cause. It reminds me somewhat of a cause I support ever since taking a graduate class under one of the founders, The Innocence Project. These causes need to be highlighted, for I believe far too many people are unaware of the number of people who are incarcerated and shouldn’t be. Thanks for sharing this, for I wasn’t aware of The Bail Project.

    • Thanks Jill. I am aware of the Innocence Project, too. I like ideas like The Bail Project because they are impactful, sustainable and replicable. We have a terrible habit of make minor criminals and innocent people worse by exposing them to hard core criminals. Plus, what better way to deal with overcrowding than not to put them in prison in the first place?

      By the way, we need someone to turn off the rain from Florence. It is relentless today after being persistent yesterday. I feel for those in the eastern part of the state, as they get the rain, plus the river run off from the higher grounds. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: There is a great book called “The New Jim Crow,” which ably defines the relatively high incarceration rates of African-Americans, primarily due to their inability to get and pay for good counsel, bail and fines. Supplementing this is a piece John Oliver did on “Last Week Tonight,” regarding the flagrant use of court fees to escalate imprisonable debt. In essence, impoverished people end up going to jail over parking tickets of traffic violations because the courts keep adding fees on people who cannot pay a fine of $75.

    These are two of the reasons Colin Kaepernick is protesting the two Americas. We have a poverty problem in the US and we should not be jailing people because they are poor and cannot afford our judicial system.

  4. Our (California) governor recently signed a no-bail bill. Of course, the bail bond industry was immediately against it since their business would be made instantly obsolete. But, interestingly, the ACLU who was originally a sponsor of the bill, came out against the final version. Their concern is that the revised version passed creates “a substantial likelihood that more people will be incarcerated pretrial than under current law.” Perhaps some unintended consequences? It will be interesting to see how it all works out

    • Janis, I think sometimes we over think things. The no bail idea sounds like a good idea. Yet, I don’t think we can ever stop people from gaming any system. For example, I think we should get money out of politics, but I am convinced that influencers will find a way to peddle their influence. Keith

  5. Dear Keith,

    This is an idea that both republicans and democrats can support. It’s an idea that should have been acted on a long time ago. The only people who should not benefit from this are those who would not be granted bail, if they were rich.

    Hugs, Gronda

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