Photo credits: Emma Lee/WHYY
A community outreach organization based in a major U.S. city on the East Coast delivered a Mother’s Day gift for the ages to low-income women incarcerated for minor offenses.
Following a truly amazing trend started by other like-minded groups and individuals across the nation, the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund pooled an undisclosed amount of financial aid, which was designated to pay the cash bonds for a group of black mothers who were in jail before Mother’s Day.
According to a 2017 report released by the office of Philadelphia’s City Controller, 33 percent of those who were incarcerated in the city’s jails were locked up on charges that were very minor. Many of these low-level offenders could have been released from jail with bail amounts that were lower than $5,000.
As a result, these financially-challenged defendants often languish in jail for months before their trials. This creates a high cost to taxpayers and puts a burden on the state budget. This mass incarceration process also creates a whole host of adversities for families, who in many cases lose a sole breadwinner.
Mark Houldin, policy director at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, recently conducted an exclusive interview with Whyy.org. In his discussion with the publication, Mr. Houldin praised the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund’s efforts and talked about the types of clients he has who need help.
“I think what’s beautiful about this bailout is it highlights the importance of families being together,” Mr. Houldin said.
“Women being with their children, being with their mothers that they may be caretakers for, keeping their jobs, keeping their place to live and keeping their life on track because we know that any time spent in jail can increase the likelihood that someone may be involved in a crime in the future,” he continued.
It is great to know that there are a growing number of organizations in America who believe that the over-criminalization of our most vulnerable citizens is an egregious practice. Organizations like these who help black women on Mother’s Day are a formidable weapon in the war against mass incarceration.