ABOUT THE FUND
THE PROBLEM WITH BAIL
In theory, bail is supposed to ensure appearance in court: criminal defendants post bail, then recoup their money after appearing in trial. In practice, however, bail punishes the poor. Defendants who lack bail money face two options: languish in pretrial detention with no conviction, or plead guilty merely to get out of jail — often to a charge they did not commit.
Bail thus creates a two-tiered system of justice. Defendants with money can resume their lives, access counsel, and defend themselves in court. Defendants without money are presumed guilty from the start. The harms of pretrial detention — which include loss of employment and housing, inferior case outcomes, and the trauma of incarceration — disproportionately impact communities of color, immigrants, the homeless, the mentally ill, and LGBT individuals.
By posting bail for our clients, Connecticut Bail Fund allows them to return home, keep their jobs, retain custody of their children, and fight their cases in court. Additionally, we pair each client with a Community Navigator, who orients the client to social services in the community and ensures they meet their court obligations.
Because bail is returned after a defendant appears in court, each dollar in our revolving fund helps individual after individual, community after community.
Wall Street Journal - Group to Pay Bail for Poor Defendants in Low Level Cases
NPR: Marketplace - When You Can't Make Bail
New Haven Register — Yale Group Sets Up Bail Fund to Cut Pretrial Jail Time
New Haven Independent — New Fund Combats Wealth-Based Jailing
The New York Times — The Bail Trap (link)
Vera Institute — Incarceration's Front Door: The Misuse of Jails in America (download)
Justice Policy Institute — Bail Fail: Why the US Should End the Practice of Using Money for Bail (download)
Arnold Foundation — Pretrial Criminal Justice Research Brief (download)