Today’s system of bail and pre-trial detention unjustly penalizes people who are unable to pay and especially impacts people of color. Defendants are held in jail on a pre-trial status, meaning they haven’t been convicted of a crime, but won’t be released until they pay bail or post a bond. In 2018, approximately 1,000 people in Orange County, NC were detained pre-trial simply because they couldn’t afford to pay bail. Such recent cases have ranged from stealing a two-dollar candy bar, stealing a rotisserie chicken from a grocery store, trespass, littering, drug possession, probation violation, to more serious felony charges. People detained pre-trial are much more likely to be sentenced to prison. Sitting in jail pre-trial, people can also lose their jobs, homes, child custody, and much more. The damage has a domino effect—and lasting impact—on people’s lives. Orange County Bail/Bond Justice works to change unjust bail practices in our community and provides assistance to people who can’t afford to pay their bail. We are a new organization, and a top priority is establishing a $50,000 revolving Bail Fund for Orange County. We will use the Bail Fund to post low-cost bail for people in Orange County who can’t afford to pay it. Individuals could then continue their lives pending trial. Upon court appearance and/or case resolution, the bail would be returned to the Fund to help others in need. The maximum bail we will post is $3,000, which would cover misdemeanor and low-level felony charges (e.g. open container violation, larceny, trespass, and drug possession). We estimate that the average bail posted will be $2,000. Our immediate goal is to raise half of the Bail Fund -- $25,000—by January 2020 and to begin posting bail for defendants. How much money you have shouldn’t determine whether you sit in jail. Please help us make that a reality. Learn more about Orange County Bail/Bond Justice and how you can help at www.ocbailbondjustice.org.