Holding someone in jail because they are too poor to post bail is unethical and unjust. Every citizen has a right to be free until they are convicted. The Waukesha NAACP is exploring the prospects of a pilot Revolving Bail Fund. What are the impacts of holding someone in jail without being convicted of a crime?
The accused has a realistic possibility of losing their job. (most states like Wisconsin have laws supporting employer’s rights to terminate employment for any reason-or no reason at all)
The accused has a realistic possibility of losing their children to state control.
The accused has a realistic possibility of being subjected to violence in prison resulting in physical, mental, and emotional impact long after they are released.
The accused has an increased likelihood to ‘cut a deal’ and plead guilty even if they are not guilty to get out of jail quickly.
How would the revolving bail fund work?
Step 1: A Waukesha County resident is arrested, charged with a crime, and bail is set by a judge.
Step 2: Through close partnership with the Waukesha County Public Defender’s office, the Waukesha County NAACP is presented with a candidate that would be a good fit for us to support with the revolving jail fund (based on criteria our local chapter agrees to).
Step 3: A committee of Waukesha County NAACP members will convene an emergency committee meeting by phone or other electronic means such as Zoom and decide if we should use funds to post bail for the accused.
Step 4: If the committee agrees, bail is posted and the accused is released as soon as possible.
Step 5: The committee will partner closely with the accused resident who was released, alongside the public defender’s office. Our goal is to help ensure the accused returns to court at the appointed time so bail is returned.
Step 6: When the resident arrives at the appointed trial date, the bail posted is returned to the Waukesha County NAACP and the funds are ready to be used to help another resident. Contact Darren Tollier @ firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the Waukesha NAACP Bail Fund.