Bail the mothers out

by Willie Nelson

Every day 700,000 people nationwide sit in jail, and 70% of those are awaiting a trial. Among these people are a rapidly growing number of black mothers, grandmothers, and women family leaders.

These women sit behind bars not because they are dangerous or likely to flee. They are mothers with children waiting for them. They are grandmothers with entire families depending on them. Sometimes they are the sole provider of income in the household. Their families need them, but they are kept away from their homes and communities by the system of cash bail.

Regardless of the crimes they are charged with, these women have not been tried and are therefore presumed innocent. Yet they will remain in jail solely because they cannot afford to post bail. Worse still, prosecutors often use this incarcerated time as leverage to push women to accept guilty pleas for crimes they may not have committed. This system of injustice props up a predatory bail bond industry, where the families of accused people must often leverage their homes in order to free their loved ones ahead of their trial.

In 2019, a coalition has grown, led by Michigan Liberation, to bail out black mothers across Michigan for Mother’s Day. Following in the footsteps of the national bailout actions of 2017 and 2018, this coalition is raising funds, identifying vulnerable women sitting in jail because of lack of cash bail, bailing them out, and connecting them with services to support their well-being once they return home.

The coalition is growing to include members from Wayne, Oakland, and Kalamazoo Counties. The Metro Detroit DSA Anti-Racism Working Group is proud to be in the coalition, and we ask for your help by donating to the bailout fund and sharing the message with your community. Together we can bring these mothers home.

Make a donation online to bail out mothers in Michigan.

Buy buttons here!

Detroit DSA member and designer Lexi Eveleth produced engraved wooden wall hangings and pins to fundraise for the Mother’s Day Bail Out.