I recently donated to the Massachusetts Bail Fund. I love them. Here’s why:
Would you like to go to jail without receiving a trial? Nope. Me, neither. But that’s how the justice system works.
When you are suspected of a crime and due in court, you usually have two options: wait for the trial in jail or fork over money as bail. If you don’t show up to court, you lose the money. If you do, you get it back once the case is closed.
When the type of justice you get depends on how much money you have, the wealthy always win out. If you can afford to drop $500, you get to go home, go to work the next day, and continue with your life.
But what if you couldn’t afford bail? We lock you up to wait for your turn in court. Taxpayers pay $125 each night we force you to stay there. You have no control over how long it’ll take for a date in court to open up. You could wait weeks, months, and sometimes years, for a trial. Those bills add up. Meanwhile, you don’t show up to work because you’re behind bars. You lose your job. You can’t pay your bills. Your life is ruined before you even make it to court, just because you couldn’t post as little as $50 for bail.
The Massachusetts Bail Fund fronts the bail for clients who can’t afford it themselves. When a case closes, the fund gets the money back. Last month, they posted bail for 382 people.
And it works: half of the cases were dismissed. That means the judges decided that it wasn’t worth the time to finish these cases. No harm, no foul. Without help from the bail fund, nearly two hundred people would have sat in jail just to wait in line to go back home. In October, they lost only 4 bails. That’s a 99% success rate. Imagine if everything worked 99% of the time. That’s a world I’d like to live in.
Since the money goes back to the bail fund after each case closes, your donation can be re-used to help more people. That’s good for the clients, that’s good for their families, that’s good for the community, that’s good for law enforcement, and that’s good for you, the taxpayers. What a smart investment!
I love this fund because I’m cheap. Instead of shelling out $4,000 a month to lock someone up just to hang out, I’d rather the state spend it on something that I use, like the MBTA. I’m just selfish like that. Charlie Baker, fix the T.
Look up bail funds in your state! Or donate to the Massachusetts Bail Fund.