MYTH: Most people in jail have been found guilty of a crime.
FACT: An average of 60% of people held in local jails have not been convicted of the crime they are accused of and are there because they are unable to pay bail.
- Black women suffer disproportionately from the trappings of bail. 72 percent of incarcerated women made less than $22,000 annually prior to arrest, as compared to 51 percent of men; and the median income of incarcerated Black women prior to arrest was $12,735 in 2014.
- After paying bail (and often times they aren’t offered bail because of Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) holds), undocumented people are often funneled into the hands of ICE.
- Bail, like all things criminal justice related, is also racially discriminatory. Black defendants have 44 percent higher odds of being denied bail and kept in jail pretrial than white defendants with similar legal circumstances.
These facts were provided by Southerns on New Ground via badass Asheville organizer Nicole Townsend, who also shared the language below with the Asheville Bail Out team I am a part of.
Black August Bail Out
In honor of Black August, Asheville is throwing down to FREE Black Mamas/Caregivers & Queer & Trans Folks who are in our jails! To financially contribute to this work, Click This Donation Link and make sure that you select Asheville, NC under the “Bail Out” allocation.
Black August has long been a month of resistance for Black folks. Black August originated in San Quentin, a prison in California, to honor fallen Freedom Fighters Jonathan Jackson, George Jackson, William Christmas, James McClain and Khatari Gaulden. Black August is a time to embrace the principles of unity, self-sacrifice, political education, physical training, and resistance. In recent years, it has also been a celebration of Black cultural production and Black community.
Across the Southeast, we see bail outs as an ongoing tactic to build a base, to expose the crisis of cash bail and the beast that is the criminal-legal system, to change hearts and minds, to make real and material impacts on the lives of our people, and to build power. Following on the power and tremendous momentum from the Black Mamas Day Bail Out Action, we knew our work wasn’t done. Black political prisoners have brought attention to the targeting of Black people and inhumane treatment and conditions of prisoners. More than often, people are sitting in cages because they cannot afford to pay bail. At its very essence, Black August emphasizes honoring and upholding Black community. We can think of no better way to commemorate the history of Black August than to bail out as many Black women, broadly defined, and Black trans people across the South as we can. We will also be holding events to share the devastating impact of money bail and incarceration on our communities.
Let me know if you want to get involved in local actions!
This week I am very lucky to be a part of Alternate ROOTS’ 2107 ROOTS Week. It’s the 41st year artists and activists have gathered in the mountains to connect, create, heal and activate. With workshops on UpROOTing Oppression, powerful performances, and hands on opportunities to engage, I am looking forward to deepening my understandings, adding to my tool box, and being inspired by the AMAZING people here and the work they are doing!
Peace and love.
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