A national effort is launching that aims to help low-income defendants get out of jail by bailing them out as their criminal cases progress through the courts.
The Bail Project grew out of an effort in New York called the Bronx Freedom Fund, which paid bail for people who otherwise would be jailed. Robin Steinberg is running the project and says millions of dollars has been raised. The goal is to have a $16 million fund in five years that pays bail in 40 cities across the country and is able to get about 160,000 people out of jail.
The rules vary state by state, but a judge sets bail by weighing factors that include the risk of fleeing and the safety of community. Bail is returned at the end of trial, minus processing fees in some states.