Don't let 'Dog' stop criminal justice reform.
Tell your member of Congress to stand up to the Bail Industry.
Know who just joined the fight to defend money bail? Dog the Bounty Hunter, and his wife, Beth Chapman.1 That's right Dog is the reality TV star who got caught calling his son's girlfriend a "nigger" and talking about how often his family uses the word.2
Making people pay to get out of jail before they've ever been convicted of a crime destroys lives and saps wealth from poor communities, but there's a new bill that would end the practice. But people like Beth and Dog Chapman; bail bondsmen and bounty hunters who make money from this unjust system are doing everything they can to maintain the status quo.
The Professional Bail Agents of the United States just elected Beth Chapman as their new president and hired a lobbyist for the first time in more than ten years. And Chapman is making some outrageous statements, calling bail reform 'criminal welfare' and saying that people don't make bail because 'their families are sick of them.'3
The bail industry has reality TV stars on its side, and lots of money to hire lobbyists. But it's revealing that they've chosen spokespeople who disrespect Black people when they think we're not listening. They know we can win this fight, and they're desperate.
Tell your member of Congress to stand up to the bail industry by supporting the 'End Money Bail Act.'
Please, read below.
Scott, Rashad, Arisha, Enchanta and the rest of the ColorOfChange team.
1. "'Dog the Bounty Hunter' Goes to Washington" Politico, 4.08.2016 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6238?t=5&akid=5735.1942551.01ypHj
2. "Dog the Bounty Hunter His Five Minute Racist Rant Phone Call" Rummy Productions, 1.11.07 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/6239?t=7&akid=5735.1942551.01ypHj [Caution: Extreme use of racial slurs]
3. See reference 1.
On any given night in America, half a million people will sleep in a jail cell because they are just too poor to pay even small bail amounts. Money bail punishes people for being poor and can cause people with even the most minor offenses to lose jobs, housing or even their children. The first piece of federal bail reform legislation, the "No More Money Bail Act" was introduced by Congressman Ted Lieu last week. This bill will address the financial and psychological harm money bail has on Black inmates and their families.
Will you join our End Money Bail campaign and call on other members of Congress to co-sponsor the "No More Money Bail Act"?
Criminal justice reform is one of the defining moral issues of our day. In the worst cases, like those of Sandra Bland and Kalief Browder, being incarcerated solely due to money bail has cost Black people their lives. Kalief and Sandra are the faces of money bail in America. Both had a bright future ahead of them and a deep passion for exposing injustice. Both would be alive today were it not for the corrupt, exploitative, and discriminatory system of money bail.
The average bail amount is $90,000. What's worse is that Black people face 35% higher bail than white people for the same charge.1 For low-income and working class folks, bail costs can be so impossible that it forces them into unfair plea deals just to be released, further contributing to mass incarceration. We must stop being a nation that locks up our citizens based on their inability to pay monetary bail.
We Didn't Get Here by Accident
In the past 20 years, the average bail amount and the number of for-profit bail bond companies have exploded due to the American Bail Coalition’s lobbying efforts within the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the same organization that pushed for voter suppression legislation and Stand Your Ground Laws.2 Together, legislators and corporations have passed bills that require judges to use money bail instead of more effective pre-trial services, such as notifying individuals facing charges of an up and coming court date by mail. Money bail doesn't make communities safer, but it does pillage the wealth and incomes of millions of Black people. It's time for our country to stop forcing people to pay for their freedom. As Congressman Gallego stated, "Bail should be based on risk, not resources."3
"No More Money Bail Act" Overview
The "No More Money Bail Act" will counter America’s current money bail system that incarcerates the unconvicted in spite of the fundamental principle that the accused are innocent until proven guilty. The bill will prohibit the use of money payment, "as a condition of pretrial release in any criminal case" and incentivize these efforts by making states that fail to end money bail ineligible for certain federal grant funding.4 Currently, congressional co-sponsors of the "No More Money Bail Act" include Barbara Lee, Emanuel Cleaver, Keith Ellison, Elijah Cummings, Karen Bass, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Brenda Lawrence, Ruben Gallego, Tony Cárdenas, Mike Honda and Jerry Nadler.
Join our fight to end money bail and demand for your member of Congress to co-sponsor the "No More Money Bail Act".
In Peace and Solidarity,
Arisha, Scott, Enchanta, Josh and the rest of the ColorOfChange team
1. "Illegal Globally, Bail for Profit Remains in U.S.," New York Times 01-28-2008
2. "Race and Prison," Drug War Facts 12-31-2013
3. "Congressman Ted W. Lieu Introduces the "No Money Bail Act of 2016," United States Representative Ted Lie 02.24.2016
4. H.R. 4611 - 114th Congress (2015 - 2016), 02.24.2016