About Us

The Philadelphia Community Bail Fund posts bail for residents of Philadelphia who cannot afford to pay bail and works to bring to light to the inequities of the use of cash bail in Philadelphia and to advocate for the abolition of bail and pretrial detention in our city.

We know that Philly jails are filled with people who spend weeks, months, or even years incarcerated while waiting for court, simply because they do not have the money to pay for their own freedom. Pre-trial detention leads to higher rates of conviction, the pressure to accept guilty pleas, longer sentences, and traumatic disruption of lives including loss of jobs, housing, mental health supports, and devastated families

By paying bail, our fund supports individuals in remaining at home with their families and communities while fighting their cases.

The Philadelphia Community Bail Fund (also known as that Philly Bail Out Jawn) is run by a collective of volunteer grassroots organizers and active members of the community, and we are committed to organizing with and for the people most directly impacted by the racist system of mass incarceration, criminalization and policing. We use a non-judgmental approach and do not consider a person’s charges to respect an individual’s constitutional right to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

History

In May 2017, a group of grassroots organizers in Philadelphia came together as part of the National Mama’s Bail Out Day to give incarcerated mothers an opportunity to spend Mother’s Day at home with their families and to highlight the impact of inhumane and destructive bail practices on Black caregivers and communities. Thanks to an amazing outpouring of support,  and the strong leadership of national Black-led organizing, in less than a week we were able to raise enough money locally to bring 13 women home from Riverside Correctional Facility (RCF) to spend mother’s day with their families. We have continued to bail out Black women for many months, responding to calls from community members on the outside who could not afford to pay bail for their loved ones who were being detained pretrial. As we connected with and learned from those we bailed out, we recognized the need to continue freeing people serving pre-trial sentences as we work to end pretrial detention in the long-term. From there, the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund was born as a way to buy people their freedom until we see an end to the unjust system of cash bail in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Community Bail Fund is all volunteer-run, and is operated by grassroots organizers in the #No215Jail coalition, Black Lives Matter Philadelphia, Sankofa Community Empowerment, Frontline Dads, Media Mobilizing Project,  Caucus of Working Educators, DecarceratePA and the Youth Art Self-Empowerment Project (YASP).