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National Mama’s Bail Out Day is part of a strategy to end our cash bail system

From news releases

This Mother’s Day the National Bail Fund Network is again bailing out mamas in cities around the country to give incarcerated mothers an opportunity to spend Mother’s Day with their families. National Mama’s Bail Out Day is a coordinated effort by more than a dozen organizations to reunite families on Mother’s Day and bring attention to the true costs of money bail and mass incarceration. In the tradition of literally buying our people’s freedom, we are setting Black women and femmes free from the jaws of incarceration.

The National Bail Fund Network works with community bail funds that have been established across the country to counter the impact of mass incarceration. A unifying principle across all of these bail funds, and one that guides the Network, is a belief that bail funds are a temporary intervention, not a permanent solution to the mass injustices embodied by the criminal legal system. We believe that bail funds can play a critical and immediate harm reduction role and have a long and important history as a way for communities to push back on an unjust system.

In addition to their day-to-day work of freeing people and upholding the presumption of innocence, we believe that bail funds can be a potentially catalytic tool in the fight to end money bail. Bail funds are contemplated as tools of resistance in comprehensive campaigns to end cash bail. The Network works with organizers and legal providers to learn from current and past bail fund models and to serve as a vehicle for experimentation and learning within a larger movement strategy.

At any given time, the vast majority of individuals in America’s local jails are there because they cannot pay bail—around 450,000 on any given day. Through America’s money bail system, individuals who have not yet been tried or convicted of a crime are held in jail solely because they cannot afford to pay the bail amount required for release. About three in five people in local jails have not yet been convicted of a crime, according to the Vera Institute of Justice. Legal experts say the money bail system is unconstitutional because it denies due process and equal protection under the law.

Like many facets of our criminal justice system, bail reform advocates say cash bail criminalizes poor people who are disproportionately black and brown.

The impact of money bail on Black families cannot be understated. The two billion dollar bail bond industry profits by the separation and destruction of Black families. At least 80 percent of women caged behind bars are mothers; most of them are not found guilty. Many never will be. Yet, they are still in jail and separated from their families simply because they are too poor to pay bail. We are taking Black matters into Black hands and bailing out unconvicted women across the country.

Last year, we were able to bail out over 100 Black moms and caregivers. This year we are going further. In February, we published a toolkit so communities across the country could join our efforts. Individuals and organizations across the country have been signing up to free Black mamas and they need your support.

For more information, go to Email: To help this Mother’s Day, send contributions via To learn more about organizing to end the money bail system entirely, visit The Marshall Project (Reports), Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, among other sources.


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