The Bail Project is a national effort to combat mass incarceration at the front end of the system by paying bail for non-violent, low-risk people in need, reuniting families and restoring the presumption of innocence.
In Marion County, an average of 2,000 people are in jail awaiting trial simply because they cannot afford bail. This cash bail system criminalizes poverty, devastating low-income families and disproportionately affects people of color, women and the LGBTQ community.
The Bail Project also provides support to ensure accountability from the accused through the court process. Effective court reminders, transportation assistance, childcare, referrals to social services and other supports are all provided. As a result, 96% of the Bail Project’s cases appear in court, 50% are dismissed and less than 2% received a jail sentence. In traditional cash bail cases, 90% of the accused plead guilty just to get out of jail faster, but they then live with the consequences on their record. Because bail is returned at the end of a case, donations to The Bail Project can be recycled and reused. CICF is supporting the start-up costs of The Bail Project office in Indianapolis and helping seed the revolving community bail fund. The Bail Project estimates needing to raise $125,000-$275,000 annually over the next five years for its Indianapolis efforts.