Free the People (Again) on New Year’s Eve

Happy #FreeThePeopleDay! Did you know there are currently over 443,000 people in America who are incarcerated pretrial with 90% of them in cages simply because they can’t afford to pay their bail? This means that people who have been arrested for nonviolent petty crimes such as theft, drug possession, trespassing, and even immigration “violations” will be held in local and federal jails before they’ve even been charged with or convicted of a crime. For most of the people who are incarcerated due to their financial status, they’ll take a plea deal and admit to a crime (even if they are innocent) because having a record and/or serving wrongful time in prison is the only alternative to paying their bail. Once again, this is PREtrial, so poor people are essentially held in local, state, and federal jails for a set bond determined by the judge, and most are forced to plead guilty to their crime (whether innocent or guilty) or pay an outstanding amount of money or else remain in prison until they can fight their case in court. People who are incarcerated after arrest can no longer go to work, see their families, or pay their bills, so they often lose their jobs, lose custody of their children if they are the primary caregiver, and can even lose their housing all while locked up before seeing a courtroom. Cash bail breeds a cycle of irreparable damage to both families and communities and incarcerating people simply because they are poor does nothing to keep society safe. This New Year’s Eve on Free the People Day, I’m donating the cost of three drinks to three community bail funds that matter to me: Hawaiʻi Community Bail Fund, Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, and Hutto Community Deportation & Defense Bond Fund and see my donations matched so that we can free more people from cages during the holiday season. If you want to join me, head over to the Directory of Community Bail Funds and donate whatever you please to the funds of your choice. Let’s empty every cage this New Year’s Eve!