Press release from Southerns on New Ground:
For the week leading up to Mother’s Day, members and supporters of Southerners On New Ground (SONG) in Asheville and other cities across the South will be bailing out Black mothers and caregivers who are sitting in cells because they cannot afford bail. Black Mama’s Bail Out actions will be taking place in Atlanta GA, Durham NC, New Orleans LA, Richmond VA, Charlottesville VA, and Nashville TN. Asheville’s Black Mama’s Bail Out action will be on Friday, May 11. Those interested in supporting this effort can make a donation at bit.ly/freeblackmamasfund-18.
Black people are often accused and put in cells based on discriminatory and racially biased policies and monitoring. Cash bail frequently keeps Black people in cells because of their inability to pay.
When mothers languish in jail because of money bail, our families and communities suffer. The costs are devastating. Women often lose their jobs, housing or even children only to be found innocent. Some women, like Sandra Bland, have lost their lives. The cost to the children Black women nurture, the partners they love, and the communities they hold is incalculable.
Every year, millions of people are coerced into paying money bail after they’re arrested in order to remain free while their cases are processed. Even though these individuals are still innocent in the eyes of the law, they and their families or communities are forced to pay non-refundable ten percent deposits to for-profit bail bonds companies. The money bail system perpetuates racial bias within the criminal justice system, and only benefits the for-profit bail bonds industry and the big insurance companies that back it.
Money Bail serves no discernible public good—all it does is allow Wall Street to profit from mass incarceration. Money shouldn’t determine someone’s freedom, and SONG is working to eliminate its use in determining pretrial release.