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Fighting an Unjust System, The Bail Project Helps People Get Out of Jail and Reunites Families

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

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Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.
Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily — many find it challenging to pay bail

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

As public support for criminal justice reform continues to build — and as the pandemic raises the stakes higher — advocates remain adamant that it’s more important than ever that the facts are straight, and everyone understands the bigger picture.

“The U.S. doesn’t have one ‘criminal justice system;’ instead, we have thousands of federal, state, local, and tribal systems,” Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner found in a study released by the nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative.

Together, these systems hold almost 2 million people in 1,566 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 2,850 local jails, 1,510 juvenile correctional facilities, 186 immigration detention facilities, and 82 Indian country jails, as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories,” the study authors said in a press release.

With hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily, many find it challenging to pay bail.

Recognizing America’s ongoing mass incarceration problem and the difficulties families have in bailing out their loved ones, a new organization began in 2018 to offer some relief.

The Bail Project, a nationwide charitable fund for pretrial defendants, started with a vision of combating mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system.

Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

“We have a mission of doing exactly what we hope our criminal system would do: protect the presumption of innocence, reunite families, and challenge a system that we know can criminalize poverty,” Johnson stated.

“Our mission is to end cash bail and create a more just, equitable, and humane pretrial system,” she insisted.

Johnson said The Bronx Freedom Fund, at the time a new revolving bail fund that launched in New York, planted the seed for The Bail Project more than a decade ago.

“Because bail is returned at the end of a case, we can build a sustainable revolving fund where philanthropic dollars can be used several times per year, maximizing the impact of every contribution,” Johnson stated.

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

Johnson noted that officials created cash bail to incentivize people to return to court.

Instead, she said, judges routinely set cash bail well beyond most people’s ability to afford it, resulting in thousands of legally innocent people incarcerated while they await court dates.

According to The Bail Project, Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by cash bail, and of all Black Americans in jail in the U.S., nearly half are from southern prisons.

“There is no way to do the work of advancing pretrial reform without addressing the harmful effects of cash bail in the South,” said Robin Steinberg, Founder, and CEO of The Bail Project.

“Cash bail fuels racial and economic disparities in our legal system, and we look forward to supporting the community in Greenville as we work to eliminate cash bail and put ourselves out of business.”

Since its launch, The Bail Project has stationed teams in more than 25 cities, posting bail for more than 18,000 people nationwide.

Johnson said the organization uses its national revolving bail fund, powered by individual donations, to pay bail.

The Bail Project has spent over $47 million on bail.

“When we post bail for a person, we post the full cash amount at court,” Johnson stated.

“Upon resolution of the case, the money returns to whoever posted. So, if I posted $5,000 to bail someone out, we then help the person get back to court and resolve the case,” she continued.

“The money then comes back to us, and we can use that money to help someone else. So, we recycle that.”

Johnson said eliminating cash bail and the need for bail funds remains the goal.

“It’s the just thing to do. It restores the presumption of innocence, and it restores families,” Johnson asserted.

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Texas Judge Stops President Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Program

Under the president’s plan, borrowers who earned less than $125,000 in either 2020 or 2021 and married couples or heads of households who made less than $250,000 annually in those years are eligible to have up to $10,000 of their federal student loan debt forgiven. If a qualifying borrower also received a federal Pell grant, the individual would receive as much as $20,000 of debt forgiveness.

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The conservative group, Job Creators Network Foundation, filed the lawsuit against the plan on behalf who two individuals who didn’t qualify for relief under Biden’s program.
The conservative group, Job Creators Network Foundation, filed the lawsuit against the plan on behalf who two individuals who didn’t qualify for relief under Biden’s program.

By Stacy M. Brown | NNPA Newswire

A federal judge in Texas bent to the will of a few and struck down President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program that offered relief to at least 40 million borrowers.

The conservative group, Job Creators Network Foundation, filed the lawsuit against the plan on behalf of two individuals who didn’t qualify for relief under Biden’s program.

There remains another legal challenge to the plan.

“We strongly disagree with the District Court’s ruling on our student debt relief program, and the Department of Justice has filed an appeal,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

“The President and this Administration are determined to help working and middle-class Americans get back on their feet, while our opponents — backed by extreme Republican special interests — sued to block millions of Americans from getting much-needed relief,” she stated.

White House officials maintain that the Secretary of Education received power from Congress to discharge student loan debt under the 2003 HEROES Act.

“The program is thus an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s legislative power and must be vacated,” wrote Judge Mark Pittman, a Donald Trump nominee.

“In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone,” he continued.

Under the president’s plan, borrowers who earned less than $125,000 in either 2020 or 2021 and married couples or heads of households who made less than $250,000 annually in those years are eligible to have up to $10,000 of their federal student loan debt forgiven.

If a qualifying borrower also received a federal Pell grant, the individual would receive as much as $20,000 of debt forgiveness.

In October, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals placed an administrative hold on Biden’s forgiveness program based on a suit filed by six GOP-led states.

In the most recent case in Texas, one plaintiff did not qualify for the student loan forgiveness program because the federal government does not hold her loans.

The other plaintiff is only eligible for $10,000 in debt relief because he did not receive a Pell grant.

They argued that they could not voice their disagreement with the program’s rules because the administration did not put it through a formal notice-and-comment rule-making process under the Administrative Procedure Act.

“This ruling protects the rule of law which requires all Americans to have their voices heard by their federal government,” said Elaine Parker, president of the Job Creators Network Foundation, in a statement.

CNN reported that major Trump donor and former Home Depot CEO Bernie Marcus founded Job Creators Network Foundation.

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JULY 1 : HEADLINES

It is Friday, July 1, 2022. History at the Supreme Court! Ketanji Brown Jackson is now officially Associate Supreme Court Justice …
The post JULY 1 : HEADLINES first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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It is Friday, July 1, 2022. History at the Supreme Court! Ketanji Brown Jackson is now officially Associate Supreme Court Justice …

The post JULY 1 : HEADLINES first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SWORN IN TODAY

WATCH JUDGE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON GET SWORN IN TODAY AT NOON.
The post FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SWORN IN TODAY first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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WATCH JUDGE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON GET SWORN IN TODAY AT NOON.

The post FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SWORN IN TODAY first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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