The Brooklyn Community Bail Fund pays bail for New Yorkers who can’t afford even modest amounts, and who would be jailed or forced to plead guilty just to go home.
The Fund partners with every public defender agency in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island. We also work with reentry specialists and social service providers to connect clients in need with resources in the areas of employment, education, housing and counseling.
We work with allies here in New York and across the country in the fight to end cash bail. Ours is a radical intervention in a system that treats people differently based on wealth, skin color and influence. We’re challenging the criminalization of race and poverty, the practice of putting a price on fundamental rights, and the persistent myth that bail is a necessary element of the justice system.
Evolution of the Fund
The Fund was formed following the passage of the New York Charitable Bail Act of 2012, which allows non-profit organizations in New York to pay bail of $2,000 or less for misdemeanor defendants who cannot otherwise afford it. That same year, our Executive Director, Peter Goldberg, was approached by public defenders from Brooklyn Defender Services requesting pro bono assistance in forming a charitable bail organization. Time again, these lawyers saw their clients imprisoned and forced to plead guilty for their inability to afford small amounts bail. After acquiring the necessary licenses, the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund began operating in April 2015 with Peter as the sole bail payer. The Fund has grown to a team of 16 and expanded from its base in Brooklyn to also serve Manhattan and Staten Island. We partner with public defenders, reentry specialists, and social service providers to do this groundbreaking work.