Coalition Aims To Pay Bail For Incarcerated Mothers

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A coalition of local groups is raising money to participate in a national effort to bail out incarcerated mothers in time for Mother’s Day.

Part of the goal is to protest Philadelphia’s cash bail system.

Saturday is National “Mama’s Bail Out Day,” where groups in cities across the country are hoping to reunite mothers, particularly black mothers, with their children in time for Mother’s Day.

“Can you imagine being a mother away from your child simply because you cannot afford bail,” says Dara Cooper, who is part of the Philadelphia Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.

Their organization teamed up with Black Lives Matter Philly, No215JailCoalition, Youth United for Change, Caucus of Working Educators, and others to protest Philadelphia’s cash bail system.

According to a recent study from Temple University, roughly 20% of those behind bars have bails at less than $1,000.

“This obviously disproportionately impacts black communities, poor communities, Latino communities,” says Hiram Rivera, who runs Philly Student Union, which is part of the coalition.

He says the coalition of groups launched a fundraising campaign on Monday, and by Thursday they surpassed $20,000 and the money is pouring in.

“We are getting a lot of support,” says Rivera.

He says they coalition is working with a defense attorney to identify mothers with bails between $500 and $1000 and will use the money to free these women from the Riverside Correctional Facility on Saturday, reuniting them with their children.

“Right now we may be able to help up to 15 women,” says Rivera, but he’s hoping they’ll be able to do more.

“We don’t think that anyone should remain in jail simply because they don’t have the money to buy their release,” says Sara Morris, who is part of the #No215Jails Coalition. “We want to mobilize City Council and lawmakers to end this system of punishing people who cannot afford to go free.”

Washington D.C. has abolished cash bail and is the model that many who are against cash bail cite to.

The default in the nation’s capital is no bail; bail is only required in the most egregious cases.

For more on National Mama Bail Out Day or to donate, you can click here.

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