Credo Action

Tell Congress: Pass the No More Money Bail Act

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Tell Congress:

“Incarceration should not depend on a person’s ability to afford bail. Pass the No More Money Bail Act so that everyone is afforded equal justice under the law.”

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    Tell Congress: Pass the No More Money Bail Act

    Right now, America’s system of money bail requires poor people to buy themselves out of jail even if they have not been convicted of a crime.

    Hundreds of thousands of people are trapped in jail every day — mostly for minor offenses — due to their inability to afford bail. Pre-conviction incarceration can cost people their jobs, their homes, and even their children. The threat of these devastating consequences forces many people who are unable to afford bail to plead guilty just to get out of jail and get back to their lives.

    This broken system punishes poor people and people of color most severely. If the U.S. is to live up to the ideal that everyone deserves equal justice under the law, then it’s time to eliminate money bail from the criminal justice system. Rep. Ted Liu has introduced the No More Money Bail Act1 to help make sure no one has to pay for their freedom. Add your voice to send a strong message to Congress to pass this bill.

    Tell Congress: Pass the No More Money Bail Act.

    Today, the average bail amount is $90,000.2 Almost a quarter of the 2.3 million people currently in jail in the United States have not been convicted.3 It’s a situation that renders the phrase “innocent until proven guilty” utterly meaningless.

    In the last year, the deaths of Kalief Browder and Sandra Bland, among others, have brought the tragic consequences on the money bail system into sharp and painful view. Browder was 16 when he was arrested in New York for attempting to steal a backpack (a charge he denied). Unable to post $3,000 bail,4 Browder spent more than three years in jail at Riker’s Island, including almost two years in solitary confinement, before the charges against him were dropped and he was released. Last July, he committed suicide. Bland was taken to jail after a police officer escalated a routine traffic stop into a violent arrest in Waller County, Texas.5 After being unable to post the exorbitant $5,000 bail, Bland died in jail a few days after her arrest.

    Sandra Bland and Kalief Browder lost their lives partly because of targeted and organized lobbying meant to help corporations profit from mass incarceration generally, and money bail specifically. Average bail amounts and the number of for-profit bail bond companies have skyrocketed as a result of lobbying efforts by the American Bail Coalition, a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the secretive lobbying group that works to promote right-wing, pro-corporate legislation in states throughout the country.6

    The No More Money Bail Act would push back against these aggressive attempts to profit from our discriminatory criminal justice system. It would prohibit the use of monetary payments as a condition of pre-trial release for criminal cases, and it would punish any states that fail to comply by making them ineligible for certain federal grants.

    Add your name to the petition so that we can score an important victory for criminal justice reform and begin to turn back America’s mass incarceration crisis.

    Tell Congress: Pass the No More Money Bail Act.

    Thank you for your activism.

    1. "Congressman Ted W. Liu introduces the “No Money Bail Act of 2016”," Congressman Ted Liu.

    2. Adam Liptak, "Illegal Globally, Bail for Profit Remains in U.S.," The New York Times, January 29, 2008.

    3. Dennis Romero, "L.A. Congressman Wants Suspects to Get Out of Jail Free," LA Weekly, February 25, 2016.

    4. Jennifer Gonnerman, "Kalief Browder, 1993 - 2015," The New Yorker, June 7 2015.

    5. Shane Bauer, "Here's What Sandra Bland's Death Says About Our Broken Bail System," Mother Jones, July 27, 2015.

    6. "When Freedom Isn’t Free," The Washington Monthly, March 2015.