ACTION ALERT: The US Bail Industry Is a Corrupt War on the Poor
July 28, 2017 Robert Greenwald / Brave New Films
There is a country where nearly a half-million people have been seized by police, abducted and jailed without trail or conviction. A country where many people, not convicted of any crime, have not only lost their freedom but also have lost their lives. That country is the USA -- the "land of the free." In the past year, 815 people have died in jail awaiting trial. A third of them died within the first three days of incarceration. Most were in jail for one reason only: They were too poor to pay bail.
ACTION ALERT: Eliminate Money Bail Now Robert Greenwald / Brave New Films
(July 27, 2017) -- You know Sandra Bland's name. In the year after her well-publicized death, 815 people have died in jail awaiting trial. A third of them have died within the first three days of incarceration. Most were in jail for one reason only: They were too poor to pay bail.
This reality is what terrified Tai Sherman's mother, Tracey, and the reason she spent every dime she had -- and a lot she didn't -- to get her daughter Tai out of jail.
Tai's case is a classic example of what is wrong with money bail. Tai had no criminal record. She was arrested for driving away while a police officer was trying to arrest an acquaintance of hers for shoplifting $38 worth of stuff -- dish soap and the like. For this, Tai was slapped with $100,000 bail.
The complicated money bail system [is] one of the main feeders of mass incarceration. The reality is that 70% of people in jail are there for one reason: living in poverty.
Low-income Americans are sitting in jails for days, months, and even years simply because they can't afford to pay high bail amounts. All the while, private companies are profiting in the billions each year. This must end.
The good news is that money bail reform has a lot of momentum in California and has a good chance of happening this year -- and Brave New Films has partnered with the Ella Baker Center and a number of other organizations to #EndMoneyBail this Summer in California.
And Brave New Films has even more work to share right now. In the coming weeks, we'll be releasing "How Much Is Your Freedom Worth?", a spoken-word film that brings the injustice of the money bail system to verse. Next is "A Deal With the Devil" which showcases how defendants are compelled to take horribly unfair plea deals due to money bail.
All of these films, plus our collaboration with Pretrial Justice Institute -- "Breaking Down Bail" -- are available to screen now.
All you have to do is organize a screening at your home, at your school, or with your faith community to see these films about this important issue. Please help us get the word out now about the movement to end money bail.
Sign up to host a house party or screening of The Bail Trap today! It's free and we offer concrete actions that can have a real impact.
We all need to do our part -- watch, share, take action.
Robert Greenwald is president of Brave New Films
ABOUT BRAVE NEW FILMS
Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films are at the forefront of the fight to create a just America. Using new media and internet video campaigns, Brave New Films has created a quick-strike capability that informs the public, challenges corporate media with the truth, and motivates people to take action on social issues nationwide.
Brave New Films' investigative films have scrutinized the impact of US drone strikes; the prosecution if whistleblowers; and Wal Mart's corporate practices.