Brooklyn Community Bail Fund secures the freedom of New Yorkers who would otherwise be detained pretrial due to their poverty alone. We are committed to challenging the criminalization of race, poverty and immigration status, the practice of putting a price on fundamental rights, and the persistent myth that bail is a necessary element of the justice system.
Leveraging our groundbreaking work as a charitable bail fund, BCBF joined with other community-based organizations, immigration advocates and legal services providers to form the New York Immigrant Freedom Fund (NYIFF). Operated by BCBF, NYIFF secures the freedom of New Yorkers held in ICE detention who cannot afford to pay bond.
Ours is a radical intervention in a system that treats people differently based on wealth, skin color, immigration status and influence. Partnering with other community-based organizations to advocate for systems change, we’re challenging the criminalization of race and poverty, the practice of putting a price on fundamental rights, and the persistent myth that bail and pretrial detention are necessary elements of the justice system.
BCBF was formed when lawyers from Brooklyn Defender Services approached Peter Goldberg at the law firm Cleary Gottlieb for pro bono assistance in forming a charitable bail organization under the New York Charitable Bail Act of 2012, which allows nonprofit organizations to pay bail of $2,000 or less for misdemeanor defendants who cannot otherwise afford it. Eventually, Peter left his position at Cleary to serve as the Bail Fund’s Executive Director (and only employee). Since April 2015, BCBF has paid bail for over 4,000 New Yorkers, effectively securing over 450 years of freedom.
Today, BCBF is the country’s largest bail fund and a leading voice in the movement to bring lasting, meaningful reform to the criminal legal system.