CLEVELAND — In an effort to improve racial equity and commitment to criminal justice reform in the city, the Cleveland Foundation announced a $200,000 grant to support the local team of the national nonprofit, The Bail Project.
The fund will continue to support the local team working in Cleveland to provide free bail assistance to thousands of low-income residents.
As the first Friends of the Bail Project in the country, the newly created fund will support the local team of the Bail Project working in Cleveland. In Cleveland, the staff at The Bail Project work to reduce the pretrial detention population in Cuyahoga County’s troubled Jail.
“We created this fund to help ensure ongoing infrastructure support for the critical work on the ground that is securing freedom for individuals in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County,” said Rob Martens, who, along with his wife, Holley, was among the initial contributors to the fund. “It’s amazing what The Bail Project has accomplished in just one year in Northeast Ohio, and we’re committed to the organization’s long-term success in our community.”
Since the initial launch of the Friends of The Bail Project-Cleveland, more than $540,000 has been raised from the community. The Friends group hopes to raise $1.25 million to support at least five years of operations in Cleveland.
In its first year of operation as of July 31, The Bail Project has posted bail for 237 clients. Those clients have appeared for 95% of their court dates, and of those cases to date, 30% had all their charges dismissed and another 61% had the charges resolved with no additional jail time.
“As a bail disruptor, I see the plight of cash bail on Cuyahoga County communities each day,” said Anthony Body, one of The Bail Project’s bail disruptors in Cleveland, in a release. “Funds raised through the Cleveland Foundation will help us to combat the racial and economic injustices that are ingrained in the criminal legal system. Paying bail for someone in need is an act of resistance against a system that criminalizes race and poverty and an act of solidarity with local communities and movements for decarceration. We are grateful for the support and are motivated to continue our part in securing freedom for people in need.”
Launched in 2018, The Bail Project’s National Revolving Bail Fund pays bail for individuals who are legally presumed innocent and whom a judge deemed eligible for release.
“The work of The Bail Project aligns with the foundation’s longstanding commitment to racial equity and criminal justice reform,” said India Pierce Lee, Cleveland Foundation senior vice president for program, in a news release. “We know Black residents are tragically over-represented in the Cuyahoga County Jail population and we commend those who can give their support for this critical racial justice initiative.”
Friends of The Bail Project – Cleveland Friends of The Bail Project, click here.
To learn more about the organization and to give directly to The Bail Project’s National Revolving Bail Fund, click here.