How you can help get accused people out of jail

Sunday, 12 November 2017, 10:37:48 AM. We must try to minimize risk by accounting for and meeting the human needs of accused people, rather than restricting their liberty.
One recent Friday morning, Jojuan Powell made her way to City Hall. There, at the invitation of Councilmen Derek Green and Curtis Jones Jr.’s special committee on criminal justice, she told her story —  of a mother who rushed to stop a fight in her Mantua neighborhood and who was charged with assault herself when a teen suffered a broken bone in the fight, and how she could have waited in jail for four months for her day in court because of a $2,500 bail she couldn’t pay. Powell, who has a son, was bailed out of jail five days into her pretrial incarceration. She’s one of hundreds bailed out through the passionate leadership of Mama’s Bail Out Day, organized by black leaders and allies in cities nationwide, and led by Southerners on New Ground, the Movement for Black Lives, and others. When she returned home, the prosecution dismissed her charges, something that happens almost 30 percent more often when an accused person is released pretrial, according to recent studies. Organizers of the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund, which has continued bailing out black mothers in the wake of Mama’s Bail Out Day, see Powell’s case as proof of a long-understood truth: that the vast majority of accused people could be released safely into their communities pretrial, without cash bail or other costly or punitive supervision. Related: Can a Philly community bail fund fix our criminal-justice system? Bail funds like ours are proving something that is important for Philadelphia leaders...Read more
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