On any given day, approximately 450,000 people are held in jail because they can’t afford bail.
The Bail Project, a non-profit organization that pays bail for people in need, hopes to reduce that number through working with community partners and public defenders.
One such partnership has led to change on a local level. Alicia Virani, who is the Associate Director of the Criminal Justice Program at UCLA School of Law, has been working with law students to implement a bail assistance program in Compton.
“Nearly $41 million dollars [is] paid to bail bondsmen,” says Virani. “And most of it is being paid by black and brown communities and the poorest communities in Los Angeles. One of those communities being Compton.”
The Los Angeles County Public Defender’s office, which also works in collaboration with the Bail Project, addressed concerns of public safety.
“If the fact that you have the money is the reason you are able to get out,” explains Ricardo Garcia, the county’s new public defender, “that’s really not a public safety issue.”
Donations to The Bail Project can be made here.