In theory, bail is intended to guarantee court appearance: people accused of crimes post their bail with the court, then recover the bail money when their cases are disposed.
In practice, bail criminalized poverty. People who cannot afford bail face two options: spend months in jail waiting for a trial, or plead guilty — even when innocent.
The harms of pretrial incarceration include loss of employment and housing, trauma, and criminal convictions. This system particularly targets black and brown families, the homeless, LGBTQ people, and people living with disabilities and chronic illness. Bail perpetuates a presumption of guilt in over-policed communities.
Connecticut Bail Fund allows people fighting criminal charges to return home, keep their jobs, maintain custody of their children, and defend themselves from a place of freedom. We operate a weekly Participatory Defense meeting, where people fighting cases can learn from others in a similar situation, build community, and develop action plans to defend themselves in court. Participatory Defense allows the individuals and families served by the bail fund to collectively organize against mass criminalization.
We also operate a bond fund for Connecticut residents in federal ICE detention. To learn more, visit www.immigrantbailfund.org.
S T A F F
Brett Davidson, Co-Founder & Co-Director
Ana María Rivera-Forastieri, Co-Director