#FreeTheDads

From Fathers Day to Juneteenth, Help Us Re-unite Families by Bailing Out Incarcerated Parents

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People jailed because of money bail are presumed innocent under the Constitution and are only jailed because they are too poor to pay the money required by the court. One out of every 28 children now has an incarcerated parent, over 90% of which are fathers.

Goal: Raise 20K towards a bailout in Alachua County

This program is sponsored by the Legal Empowerment and Advocacy Hub (LEAH) which is a local affiliate of the Participatory Defense network. and the Freedom Fund, and several other organizations.

Between Father’s Day (6/16) and the Juneteenth (6/19) holidays this year, a coalition of community activist in North Florida are calling for a #FreeTheDads bailout.

We will kick-off the bailout with a rally on June 17th, 10am at the Alachua County Jail.

Contact us if you know a dad awaiting trial in the Alachua County jail because they can’t afford their bail, or if you want to donate to a fund to bail out some of these dads.

People facing criminal charges by the state must be able to prepare their defense and take care of personal matters, regardless of their economic status. This is fundamental to a free society.

The money bail system is one of the major traps that sends people into the cycle of prison recidivism and perpetual poverty.

The Plan
We will start by highlighting the cases of several people stuck in Alachua County jail awaiting trial because they can’t make their bail. We will work with their families to tell their stories, raise money and support their return the best we can.

The more we raise, the more we can get out. When bail is paid in full, the majority of the money comes back after the case is resolved. It can then we used for re-entry support or bailing more people out. If local residents want to maintain a longer term bail fund, the #FreeTheDads bailout could be the start. If not, these funds will be donated to Freedom Fund, an existing South FL non-profit bail fund which is hosting this fundraiser.

But we must remember, the intention is not to feed the system with bails, fees, and fines. The goal of this bailout is to build towards ending the money bail system and unjust court fines and fees altogether, as part of a process to abolish the modern day slavery that the prison system has become. Join us!

Check out “Our Team” of fundraisers who are working together on making this a success.

Background info
Alachua County is surrounded by prisons, with over a dozen local, state and federal facilities in a 60 mile radius where tens-of-thousands of people are held in cages, underfed, abused and forced to work with little or no pay. Most of these prisoners’ sentences started at a county jail, where they were faced state coercion to accept a bad plea deal or go into trial unprepared.

Alachua County jail holds hundreds of pre-trial detainees on any given day, people like Julius Irving , who would walk free if they were wealthy enough, and stand a chance at defending themselves in court.

While those with money are released from confinement, those in poverty face harsh choices: languish at risk or accept a guilty plea to get out of jail—often to crimes they didn’t commit. As a result of not having enough money to get bailed out, they succumbed to a deeply flawed justice system where tough-on-crime rhetoric created policies that are not based in actual goals of public safety, rehabilitation or community health.

Incarcerated, even for a day, an individual is at risk of violence and losing employment, custody of children and housing. Most suicides in jail occur within the first week.

Crime has been declining for decades, yet the number of children with a father in state or federal prison is now estimated over 1.5 million. If we include jails, 1 out of every 28 children now has an incarcerated parent. Over 90% of parents in prison are fathers. Estimates suggest that Black and Hispanic children are up to six times more likely to have an incarcerated parent than their white peers.

Incarceration often spans generations. Fathers in prison are, overwhelmingly, fatherless themselves. Youths in father-absent households have significantly higher odds of incarceration. Its time to organize and break the cycle.

Sources:
https://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2017/06/13/fathersday17/
https://www.fatherhood.org/fatherhood/fathers-behind-bars-the-problem-and-solution-for-americas-children-infographic
https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/pptmc.pdf
https://www.lgbtqfund.org/about-us

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About Freedom Fund Network Inc: To provide direct bail assistance to indigent individuals.

Funds raised will be used to post bail for the #FreeTheDads Bail Out and may also be used at a later date to continue the work of the Freedom Fund, a project of the Florida-based Freedom Fund Network, a 501(c)(3) non-profit.  To learn more about us, please visit lgbtqfund.org.

Our federal tax identification number is 82-2069282 and state of Florida registration number is CH52402. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free, 1-800-435-7352 (800-HELP-FLA) within the state or visiting www.800helpfla.com. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the state.

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