Our cash bail system allows poor people who have never been convicted of a crime or even stood trial to be locked away for years at a time, all because they cannot afford to pay bail.
Kalief Browder was held at Riker's Island for three years, much of it in solitary confinement, because his family could not afford to pay his bail after he was accused of stealing a backpack. The state of New York worked for three years to build a case against him and failed. Kalief tragically died by suicide two years after his release. He was 22 years old.
Kalief Browder's detention is not a unique story. Cash bail creates a system where people across the country are denied freedom of movement, employment, and human rights despite being found guilty of no crime besides poverty.
Sign the petition: We need cash bail reform now!
Defendants are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. However, cash bail puts poor people, primarily people of color, behind bars the same as if they were convicted and greatly increases the likelihood that they will be convicted.
It's no coincidence that cash bail primarily traps poor black and brown people, when police regularly target and overpolice these communities. Cash bail is one more tool designed to demean and disenfranchise black and brown people.
Sign the petition: Reform cash bail now!
Irna Landrum, Daily Kos