Racial justice group aims to help bail residents out of jail

11 months 23 hours 15 minutes ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 10:24:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
By: Shaletta Norwood & Kristen Harris, KOMU 8 Reporters
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COLUMBIA - For people in jail, it's sometimes difficult to get together the funds to bail out.

That's where one local group is hoping to help.

Race Matters, Friends met on Tuesday to discuss its next steps in making this plan a reality.

The bail fund would help people pay fines and post bail for those who cannot afford to pay it themselves.

Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, president of RMF said, "A lot of people are in jail on petty offenses."

The fund would also allow incarcerated people to spend time with their families or work at their job while awaiting trial.

"There are a lot of people who are in jail on warrants for not even violent offenses; they're petty. It's disrupting their life being away from their children and jobs and it's puts them; it puts them actually deeper into the cycle of poverty," Wilson-Kleekamp said. 

Race Matters, Friends is still in the organizing phase and is trying to get funding and raise money. It plans to reach out to people locally.

The group said other cities, like New York and Seattle, are doing this project as well.

Group member Carol Brown said, "Our job is to interrupt inequities, what we see as inequities in the systems in our communities."

Another group member, Laura Mitchell, said, "In states with a cash bail system like Brooklyn or Seattle, this idea seems like a stepping stone to keep bail from creating a debtors prison, where people with money can leave and people without money are stuck." 

The group does not have a set date when it will put the plan into action because the members say they are still learning about the system.

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