Take action to keep The Bail Project in Indiana

from Brian Payne, Tom Kilian and Jennifer Pope Baker

In April 2019, CICF and its affiliates, The Indianapolis Foundation and Hamilton County Community Foundation, and Women’s Fund of Central Indiana made a public commitment to dismantle systemic racism in Central Indiana. Our shared goal is to interrupt racism in our public and private systems, our corporate and community structures, and our neighborhoods and communities. That’s why addressing the economic barrier to accessing money for bail through our partnership with The Bail Project was a crucial step towards creating a community that’s equitable for all.

The Bail Project, which operates in Marion and Lake counties, pays bail for people charged with low-level offenses and who are in jail simply because they cannot afford their bail. Rather than a condition for release, bail has instead become a punishment—regardless of innocence. The Bail Project also provides wrap-around support services to the individual and their family.

Most importantly, The Bail Project works.

  • To date, The Bail Project has served 721 people in Indianapolis
  • 67% of The Bail Project clients are Black/African American
  • Indiana clients return to court pretrial 95% of the time (2,024 out of 2,134 times)
Learn more about how The Bail Project serves our community.

House Bill 1376 would roll back the progress we’ve made. HB 1376 would restrict charitable organizations from providing bail for people unable to afford to pay the bail themselves, eliminating The Bail Project in our state and community. This bill criminalizes poverty and would have a disproportionate impact on people of color who have come in contact with the criminal legal system.

We believe that the foundational work to changing these racist system starts with people. A person. You.

You have the power to continue the great progress of The Bail Project by writing in opposition to HB 1376. Contact members of the House Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee and reach out to your state representative to voice your opposition. Together we can continue on the path to creating the most anti-racist community in the country that benefits all of us.


Below is a pre-written letter to help voice your opposition and the list of email addresses of members of the house financial institutions and insurance committee. PLEASE ALSO CONTACT YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE.

You can find your state representative and their contact info here.

 

TO:  Chairperson Martin Carbaugh and members of the Financial Institutions Committee

I am writing in opposition of HB 1376 – which would restrict charitable organizations from providing bail for people who are unable to afford to pay the bail themselves. This bill criminalizes being poor and would have a disproportionate impact on people of color who have come in contact with the criminal legal system.

Specifically, this bill would eliminate The Bail Project which operates in Marion and Lake Counties. The Bail Project pays bail for people who are charged with low-level offenses and who are in jail simply because they cannot afford their bail. The Bail Project also provides wrap-around support services to the individual and their family.

The Bail Project works. 

  • To date, The Bail Project has served 721 people in Indianapolis
  • 67% of The Bail Project clients are Black/African American
  • Indiana clients return to court pretrial 95% of the time (2,024 out of 2,134 times)
  • Of those with their cases disposed of, 87% did not spend any more time incarcerated

The people served by The Bail Project and other charitable organizations who provide bail are not potential customers for the bail bond industry. They do not have the money for that. Without programs like The Bail Project, they could sit in jail for weeks simply because they are experiencing poverty. During that time, they are likely to lose employment, housing and With jail-overcrowding a crisis issue, why would we eliminate this successful resource?

This bill is not about financial institutions. It is about people and justice.  Please vote “no” on HB 1376.


Email addresses for members of the House Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee and their legislative assistants: 

Carbaugh (Chair):  H81@iga.in.gov
LA: Evan.Petty@iga.in.gov

Ellington H62@iga.in.gov
LA: Jake.Carrico@iga.in.gov

Borders: H45@iga.in.gov
LA: Josh.Bain@iga.in.gov

Heaton: H46@iga.in.gov
LA: William.Smeltzer@iga.in.gov

Lehman: H79@iga.in.gov
LA: Tyler.Murrell@iga.in.gov

Mayfield: H60@iga.in.gov
LA: Matt.Jaworowski@iga.in.gov

McNamara: H76@iga.in.gov
LA: Whitney.Peterson@iga.in.gov

Schaibley: H24@iga.in.gov
LA: Rachel.Massey@iga.in.gov

VanNatter: H38@iga.in.gov
LA: Elias.Arnett@iga.in.gov

Austin: H36@iga.in.gov
LA: Luis.Nino@iga.in.gov

Campbell: H26@iga.in.gov
LA: Jalen.Jones@iga.in.gov

Porter: H96@iga.in.gov
LA: Peter.Okeafor@iga.in.gov

Shackleford: H98@iga.in.gov
LA: RaeVen.Ridgell@iga.in.gov

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