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Charitable bail funds and “bail outs” are freeing people who cannot afford bail.

For decades, community groups and activists have organized to pay bail for people arrested who cannot afford it. In recent years, nonprofits like the Bronx Freedom Fund, Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, and Chicago Community Bond Fund have established charitable bail funds that use a revolving pot of money to pay bail and are part of the movement to end money bail and mass incarceration.

As of 2017, more than 30 charitable bail funds existed across the country—in places such as Tennessee and Massachusetts—and ongoing “bail out” events have targeted special occasions like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, raising online donations from more than 13,000 donors to pay bail for individuals held in jail across the country.See for example National Bail Out, “National Bail Out,”  Collectively, these charitable bail efforts have, in 2017 alone, paid bail for more than 2,000 people who would otherwise remain in jail.See Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, “Our Results” (2,600 individuals served overall)Bronx Freedom Fund, “Bronx Freedom Fund” (more than 600 people served in 2017); and National Bail Out, “National Bail Out” (almost 200 people served).  In November 2017, a national organization called the Bail Project was launched to use its funds in 40 additional sites across the country—with a target of bailing out more than 100,000 people over the next five years—to bring national attention to the injustice of money bail.Alan Feuer, “Bronx Charity Founder Wants to Pay Bail for Poor Defendants Nationwide,” New York Times, November 13, 2017.