The Bail Project is a nonprofit organization that provides bail bond alternatives to individuals who cannot afford to post a bond to stay out of jail while they await their day in court. Since its inception, The Bail Project has freed more than 1200 people from jail and prevented over $2.3M in bail debt. Individuals unable to post bail for any reason can request assistance through the Project’s website or by calling the toll-free hotline. The Bail Project has helped individuals facing eviction, death penalty cases, domestic violence charges, and dui counseling. Let us explore how the Project has helped people.
Bail Can Be Expensive
Bail is the money people pay to a bail bondsman to be released from jail or prison during their trial. Being able to post bond, or money guaranteeing that you will return for your trial, can prevent a person from being held in jail for long periods. People are often arrested due to poor judgment, but it is not uncommon for people who have been arrested and cannot afford the bail bond amount associated with their charges to be held in jail. The amount of bail the judge allocates to people varies depending on the crime committed.
The bail system has an all too obvious flaw: the people who don’t have enough money to post bail. Some crimes, such as murder and theft with violence, incur a larger bail than minor crimes, such as driving with a suspended license. In some cases, people in need find it challenging to post bail and are forced to stay in court until the case’s hearing. Such can be inconvenient, especially if it involves parents whose children have no one to take care of them. The Bail Project helps individuals who require assistance and cannot post bond, regardless of their crime.
Unfairness in Criminal Justice System
The criminal justice system has been racially biased because of systemic racial disparities. The system has also discriminated against people based on their financial standing. The Bail Project helps those who require assistance in the criminal justice system. For people who have been charged with a crime but cannot afford to post bail because they have no one to turn to, The Bail Project provides aid by offering alternatives to burdening individuals with bail payments they cannot afford. People who qualify for such aid must meet the requirements set by the Project. Individuals must meet specific criteria to qualify for the fund. For instance, they must not be flight risks and be willing to appear in court.
When setting bail, the court rarely considers an individual’s financial situation not unless it is dealing with wealth and well-known individuals. Such means that a poor person suspected of having committed a major crime such as murder can be allocated a bail amount they will never afford. It has been shown repeatedly that people of color are overrepresented in jails, which is a serious issue. The Bail Project works to fight against this unfairness by providing bail alternatives to people who cannot afford to pay their bail.
The Bail Project Offers Prisoners Freedom
People behind bars waiting for their trial date can be very stressful. Most people in jail wish they were home with their families and friends. They don’t want to spend money on a lawyer or wait on court dates when they think they are innocent. The Bail Project helps people waiting on the inside by offering them the bail bond alternative. The Project allows defendants to stay with their loved ones while awaiting the case’s hearing instead of staying in a cell that they cannot go out of.
In some cases, a prisoner might be an individual battling drug addiction or someone who was in the middle of addiction treatments. When such an individual is kept in prison, the chances are high that they would relapse. Jail can be traumatizing, and such an individual has a chance of becoming an addict after staying in jail. Therefore, the Bail Project is a great alternative for keeping such people out of prison. The person can continue with rehab as they await their hearing. Such plays an important role in transforming an individual into a helpful society member. Hence, the Project is considered a preventative measure for individuals at a high risk of relapsing.
The Project Prevents Innocent People from Serving A Jail Term
When people hear about bail and jail, what comes to mind is those who have committed a crime and are facing a jail term. The Bail Project helps innocent people by posting bail on their behalf. A prison sentence is undoubtedly a serious punishment, but an innocent person can be unfairly sentenced to a jail term simply because they cannot afford to post bail. Sometimes, a person can be arrested for a crime they did not commit. Such means that the person would have to serve a jail term before the judge can declare them innocent. The best part of the Bail Project is that it keeps innocent people from spending time in jail before determining their verdict.
Court Hearings Take Long
If you have ever committed a crime and had a criminal attorney represent you, you already know how long the court hearing can take. Some cases take months before a verdict is decided. During this period, your lawyer has to gather enough evidence to prove your case. Such could also take time as the lawyer must hunt witnesses and convince them to testify in your favor.
The Bail Project is important in safeguarding people against lengthy court hearings. If you do not have bail money, you will spend all these months in jail. The worst-case scenario is where you are declared innocent during the verdict. In such a case, you would have to spend months in jail for no reason.
The Project offers bail bond alternatives that allow people to continue their lives as they await the case’s hearing. It is uncertain how long certain court cases would take; therefore, it is better to be safe than sorry. Innocent people could spend months in jail before they are declared innocent. Such people could lose their jobs and families because they cannot meet financial obligations such as rent and other bills. The Bail Project helps such individuals to continue with their lives as they positively contribute to employment services. The Project offers such individuals a second chance at life as it allows them to reunite with their families.
The Project Offers A Solution For Those Arrested On Minor Charges
More often than not, people arrested on minor charges are released on cash bail or signature bonds. However, there are cases where the arrested person cannot post bail and end up spending time in jail. The Bail Project gives such individuals an opportunity to get out of prison by offering a bail bond alternative. People who qualify for this aid must have strong family support as they will have to stay with them while awaiting the case’s hearing.
Due to the high number of people incarcerated due to poverty, the Bail Project has been working overtime to offer such individuals a second chance at life.
Other Bond Services Charge High Interest
When looking for 24 hours bail services, you can easily find many of them. The only challenge about such services is that they charge huge interest rates to get you out of jail. This means that you end up paying more money than you could have spent on posting the bail bonds. The Bail Project offers a bail bond alternative in that it does not charge interests for the amount posted as bail.
The bail program works because bail money is issued on behalf of a suspect. Therefore, the suspect would not be required to borrow any money repaid at interest. Also, the amount is returned to the system after a court hearing. Most of the services offering bail money aim to make a profit from the venture. In such cases, they post bail, get a refund after the court hearing, and the suspect pays them the interest charges. The Bail Project does not make any profit from your money. Therefore, it offers an alternative solution for people who need financial assistance.
Keeping you out of jail is important so you can continue your job and provide for your family. If you cannot contribute to the household expenses, it would be a daunting task for the family members to meet all the financial obligations such as rent, bills, and paying bail. Hence, the Bail Project has been highly helpful to people who cannot access the bail money offered by different services in the market.
How the Bail Project Works
The police job is to arrest criminals and present them before a judge. The judge decides how much bail to set, which is usually linked to the crime or charges, and what kind of offense it was. The seriousness of the offense will determine how much money someone has to pay for them to be free before their trial starts. If the crime or charge is very serious, then the accused is allowed to pay a much higher amount than others.
When a judge decides if something can be bailable or not, they consider two factors. The first factor is whether or not bail conditions restrict the defendant. Such can be as simple as a requirement that they only leave their house at certain times of the day because they are under home detention and may not get out into public randomly. Another factor is whether the defendant might be a danger to others. Such could mean that there are special restrictions on where they can go or what they can do, and also if special requirements are put into place for them, such as being on a curfew or going to rehabilitation. Such is usually the case in domestic violence cases because abusers are often dangerous to their partners.
Even though it is not always required that bail be posted, if it is required, then there will be certain steps that someone has to take for bail to be set by the court system. At this step, the Bail Project comes in to assist the defendant. The service posts the bail needed to have the person released. After the hearing, the court returns the bail money to the Project Fund.
Bail money is paid to keep a person out of prison until their hearing; therefore, the person should appear for the hearing. If they fail to, the judge could make the bail bond non-refundable. Such does not guarantee the person a free man but makes them fugitives. The judge does not refund the bond money when the person decides to show up at court at a later date. Therefore, the Bail Project ensures that all the individuals covered by their bail money appear in court. The system aims to get back as many funds as possible to ensure the Project continues to help other suspects.
The Bail Project has been running for over five years, providing bail to tens of thousands of people. The Project covers different cases and focuses on the disadvantaged. These could be individuals unable to post their bail or from minority communities. The Project focuses on such individuals because they have higher chances of being the victims of an unfair justice system. The Bail Project is run by volunteers and provides bail for individuals who cannot post it themselves.
Those needing bail must ensure that they have enough money to pay their bail. Such can be done through various sources like family, friends, sponsors, and even the public who might be willing to help with the cost of posting such money. After this, they need to clearly understand who will cover the cost of the release. Thanks to the Bail Project, people no longer have to go through many struggles to raise bail money.
People must spend less time in jail as they await the trial’s verdict. The Bail Project helps such individuals by providing a bail bond alternative. The person is allowed to continue with their life before the court hearing and also continue work. If a person stays in jail, they will likely lose their job. Such would push them into a financial crisis.