Nina

"In my community, when someone is arrested, everyone drops everything to come together to try and make bail. For immigrant and undocumented communities, being unable to afford bail is not an option we have because the price of deportation and family separation is so high." - Essie Justice Group

 

Natasha

"My husband was given no bail. Without bail, there would be no jury trial. He took a plea deal as a scared 19 year old after sitting for too long in a jail cell. They knew we couldn’t make bail anyhow. Why? Because we were poor and black." Essie Justice Group

 

Anna

"I was 21 years old when my husband went away. There I was, pregnant with our daughter, and suddenly living on my own. I couldn’t even get together $5K for his lawyer, let alone come up with the $250,000 his bail was set at. The second the judge set the bail amount, I knew it wasn’t an option for us. There was no way I could do it on my own." - Essie Justice Group

 

LeChar

"When my brother was arrested, my mom had to put up our house for his bail. Now it’s like we owe them everything, otherwise we lose the house. We are forever in debt to the bail bondsman because of it. My mom has to work harder to keep up on the bills and stay out of debt, because they have so much control over our lives now."  - Essie Justice Group

 

Lisa

"My son has struggled with his mental wellness for the last several years. When he turned 24, he was arrested. His bail was set at $150,000. I did everything I could to come up with the ten percent of $150,000 it would take to get him out. But we couldn’t make it happen. Because of his illness, in jail, he was put in solitary confinement. He gets worse and worse everyday. He needs treatment. Now he has more traumas than when he went in. I wish I could have pulled together the money, even for him to come home for a month; it would have changed so much. He's now at a State Hospital and they are trying to "restore" him to competency for trial." - Essie Justice Group

 

Shamika

"My baby brother was picked up outside of our family home because the police said he resembled someone reported doing robberies in the area. We waited for two weeks for the court to set bail. When bail was finally set in his case, they did not consider the fact that he was three credits and mere months from finishing high school. They did not look at the fact that he had no resources. They did not listen or see the women and family - his sister,  me, his mother, his aunts and cousins -- who would ultimately have to pay the costs. Instead the judge set the bail at $45,000. It might as well have been 10  million. Everyone acted as though this was normal. So, I thought it must be my fault that I couldn’t figure out how to bail him out." - Essie Justice Group

 

Steph

"I couldn’t believe how many women in Elmwood were held captive simply because of bail-money. Dominguez, a woman I met in there, stressed about her four young children and how her elderly mother could barely maintain herself, let alone care for her babies. Lil’ B slept right next to me, and explained how she got her first DUI. She was 24, from Gilroy, and bail wasn’t even an option. Even Mr. T, my landscape teacher said I wasn't supposed to be there.

If only I was able to report to my job in time, I wouldn’t feel like my life is going in a downward spiral. As a result of not being able to afford bail, I lost my job, lost my apartment, and am even in debt. I shouldn’t have to lose it all because of insufficient funds." - From Silicon Valley Debug