First off we would like to announce we have officially been added to the National Bail Fund Network. We are now further connected with bail funds around the country and have access to more resources and collaborations. This is a big step in the right direction! To view the registry visit: https://www.communityjusticeexchange.org/nbfn-directory
Learn more about the National Bail Fund Network visit: https://www.communityjusticeexchange.org/national-bail-fund-network
Now an update on what we are doing here on the home front! We at the KC Community Bail Fund have been working hard behind the scenes to implement some policies for our fund since our first bail out. Our current focus is on advocacy for policy change, creating a cohesive policy for referring clients for assistance and accepting requests for bail, and following and supporting our first recipient of bail through the rest of her case - updates on this case to come.
With our founders coming from a social work and social service background working specifically with the homeless community in Kansas City, we aim to begin by providing bail assistance to young adults receiving case management and/or services through community agencies - especially those funded through the KC Continuum of Care. We are starting small, so we want to ensure the recipients of bail assistance through are fund have supportive services in place to assist with complying with pretrial conditions and making it to court. We also want to assist this population because we have noticed a trend in our work of homeless individuals, youth, and families being targeted by the police and the criminal justice system by being ticketed, charged, and jailed often for minor offenses, such as trespassing by sleeping outside. Being homeless, the likelihood of being able to afford the bail set for them is rather slim. In addition, those enrolled in HUD funded programs lose their housing after 90 days of incarceration, as well as a large chunk of their homeless status which makes them eligible for such programs. Many people who cannot afford bail are stuck in jail for months, resulting in the loss of jobs, custody of children, and housing. By starting with the homeless community, we aim to be successful, grow, and expand the population in which we intend to serve.
The KCCBF founders have experienced firsthand and witnessed the effects of pretrial detention and the victimization of the poor. We do not take this effort lightly and we want to make a profound impact within the community - we just want to make sure we are doing it right, which is why we are taking the time to follow our first recipient's case through and develop policies in which service providers can request bail assistance for their clients and active members of the KCCBF can assess the requests based on such policies.
We also want to continue working on our advocacy for local, state, and federal policy change surrounding pretrial detention, money bail, and mass incarceration - specifically for the marginalized populations - people of color, people living in poverty, first-time offenders, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and young adults. We have done so by educating local organizations, agencies, and community members of the effects of pretrial detention - effects that impact not only those incarcerated but the taxpayers themselves who are often unaware or uninformed of the money bail system in our country and the cost (fiscal cost on the taxpayer and physical/mental/social cost of those directly impacted) of pretrial detention.
We are still a relatively small group and would love to expand with partnerships and community members joining the KCCBF team. To inquire about partnerships or joining our team, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. The more people on our team, the more perspective we will gain when forming policies. With additions to our team, we could achieve our goals at a much swifter pace and be able to assist more people in our community. Please look forward to our referral process policies to come soon and subscribe to our email newsletters for more updates and successes both locally and nationally regarding bail funds and bail reform.
If you would like to continue to learn more about the effects of money bail and pretrial detention please visit the websites below for research:
For stats specific to Missouri:
For stats specific to Kansas:
Thanks all for taking the time to read and care about the issues at hand. We appreciate all of the support from the community!!
-KC Community Bail Fund