Low-income Blacks and Latinos are disproportionately affected by the cash bail system, and a group of activists from Denver is on a mission to change that. Just in time for Father’s Day, members of The Denver Justice Project and Black Lives Matter 5280 bailed out Black men so that they could be reunited with their families; an effort created to spread awareness about bail reform, the Denver Post reported.
The activists plan to post the bail money for over a dozen men who were placed behind bars for low-level offenses by Tuesday, the news outlet writes. Some of the men will be released in honor of Juneteenth. One of the men that they helped had a bond that was less than $100 stemming from a disturbing the peace charge, however, he couldn’t afford to post bail. On Friday, the activists bailed out three men from Douglas County whose bonds collectively totaled $4,000. Being locked up for minor offenses has long-term implications; including losing employment and being separated from loved ones.
“It’s the human thing to do,” Vincent Bowen, a Black Lives Matter 5280 volunteer, told the news outlet. “It is a way for us to point out the injustice of the cash bail system.” Michael Diaz-Rivera, another project organizer, added that the cash bail bond system is “just a way to criminalize the poor.” Michael Marshall—a man who was killed by Denver law enforcement officials at the Downtown Detention Center while having a mental breakdown—was the inspiration behind this year’s project. Marshall was charged with trespassing and his bail was set at $100.
Earlier this year, a similar effort was made by the organizations Southerners on New Ground and the National Bail Out Collective who posted bail for incarcerated Black women so that they could be reunited with their children for Mother’s Day.