Non-profit

Bail Project

Website:

bailproject.org/

Location:

VENICE, CA

Tax ID:

81-4985512

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Founder:

Robin Steinberg

The Bail Project is a nonprofit organization that opposes cash bail and provides payment assistance to those accused of crimes who cannot afford bail. The Los Angeles area-based organization has 17 other offices across the United States. As of late 2019, the organization had posted bail for 7,800 people. [1] The organization began in the Bronx in 2008. [2]

The group claims that paying bail for those in jail is an “act of resistance against a system that criminalizes race and poverty.” [3] The organization covers up to $5,000 surety bond, that requires all the money up front. It will also pay up to a $10,000 of a 10-percent bond, which would require only $1,000 down. On average, the organization pays about $869 per case. [4]

The organization pays bail through its revolving fund and gets the money back at the end of the defendant’s case. The Bail Project contacts defendants and family members directly to determine needs regarding housing, employment and whether there are mental health or substance abuse issues. It also works with various local social services. [5]

Activities

The project, through its National Revolving Bail Fund, offers free bail assistance to poor individuals deemed by a judge to be eligible for pre-trial release but who cannot afford to pay the sum at which their bail is set. The project generally gets in touch with such individuals by working with local organizations, public defenders, and accessing jail websites, which sometimes list individuals being held before their trials. Once the project identifies individuals of interest, it conducts interviews to determine whether a given individual would likely return to court for their trial should the Project pay their bail. (Were someone to be bailed out by the project and then not appear at the appointed date and time for his or her trial, the Project would lose their payment.) If an individual is deemed eligible, the Project makes the payment and then follows up with periodic reminders regarding attendance at the impending trial. If necessary, the Project also assists individuals with finding transportation to court. Throughout the process, the Project interacts with such individuals through its ‘Bail Disruptors,’ which are located in all the municipalities in which the Project is active.[6]

The Bail Project opposes the practice of cash bail and campaigns against and publishes material critical of it. It also opposes the practice of detaining arrested individuals prior to their trials and the electronic monitoring of suspects. The paper describes electronic monitoring as “dehumanizing” and the “virtual counterpart” to incarceration.[7]

Regional Outcomes

The Chicago Tribune reported that the Bail Project, along with the Chicago Community Bond Fund, had repeatedly bailed out individuals with criminal records, including gun crimes. Further, some of those bailed out by the organization were rearrested. [8]

In early April, The Bail Project used about $1 million to pay the bail of dozens of Cook County jail inmates awaiting trial in Illinois. [9]

The organization opened a Charlotte office in 2019 and bailed out about 100 inmates, 25 of those just ahead of Thanksgiving. [10]

COVID-19 Activism

The organization has been active during the COVID-19 pandemic to get more people out of local jails. [11] The organization urged judges and corrections officials across the United States to allow early release and bail reduction to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19. [12]

Leadership

Robin Steinberg

Robin Steinberg is the founder of The Bail Project. Formerly, Steinberg was a public defender, and founded three non-profit organizations, The Bronx Defenders, which provides legal assistance to criminally charged residents of the Bronx in New York City, The Bronx Freedom Fund, a bail fund for indigent Bronx residents, and Still She Rises, which provides legal assistance to women in North Tulsa, Oklahoma. Steinberg is also the Gilbert Foundation Senior Fellow of the Criminal Justice Program at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.[13]

Yemi Adegbonmire

Prior to joining the Project, general counsel Yemi Adegbonmire was a legal executive at the Walt Disney Company, where she was legal counsel to ABC Media Networks, Maker Studios Inc., Disney Consumer Products, and Interactive Media, and Disney’s Direct to Consumer and International Division. Adegbonmire was also a Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Analyst.[14]

Brad Dudding

Before joining the Project, Chief Impact Officer Brad Dudding worked at the Center for Employment Opportunities, a nonprofit based in NYC that works to find former felons’ employment.[15]

Zach Herz-Roiphe

Before joining the Project, CFO Zach Herz-Roiphe worked at New Mountain Capital, a private equity firm in New York, and Bain and Company, a national management consulting firm.[16]

Kaitlin Koga

Before joining the Project, Kaitlin Yoga was a college counselor in Boston Public Schools and worked on criminal justice reform policy at the White House. Yoga is a Board Member of United We Dream, a left-of-center immigration-expansion advocacy organization.[17]

Chris McCain

Before joining the Project, Chris McCain worked at the Forum for Theological Exploration, a religious educational nonprofit organization based in Decatur, Georgia, and in fundraising at Emory University.[18]

Camilo Ramirez

Before joining the Project, Carlos Ramirez worked at The Bronx Defenders and the Center for Constitutional Rights, a left-progressive legal advocacy group focused on race, immigration, LGBT issues, and gender.[19]

Johanna Steinberg

Before joining the Project, Johanna Steinberg was the General Counsel and Director of Impact Litigation at The Bronx Defenders, Senior Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center’s Criminal Justice Clinic, and law clerk to Virginia Phillips of the Central District of California.[20]

Controversy

In September 2020, Bail Project staffer Holly Zoller rented a U-Haul truck that was seen near the site of violent Black Lives Matter-associated demonstrations in Louisville, Kentucky. Eyewitnesses, including Daily Caller reporter Shelby Talcott, reported the truck contained “supplies such as signs, shields, [and] water”; a Politifact report asserted that “Some of the signs bore logos associated with antifa.” According to the Bail Project, Zoller did so on her personal time and not using Project resources.[21]

References

  1. Krouse, Peter. “Bail Project That Frees Indigent Crime Suspects Reports Encouraging Results in Cuyahoga County.” Cleveland Plain Dealer. November 22, 2019. Accessed May 10, 2020. https://louisvillefuture.com/archived-news/the-bail-project-is-trying-to-end-cash-bail-in-america-one-inmate-at-a-time/ ^
  2. Jones, Michael L. “The Bail Project is Trying to End Cash in American One Inmate at a Time.” Louisville Future. November 14, 2018. Accessed May 10, 2020. https://louisvillefuture.com/archived-news/the-bail-project-is-trying-to-end-cash-bail-in-america-one-inmate-at-a-time/ ^
  3. The Bail Project. LinkedIn. Accessed May 9, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-bail-project/ ^
  4. [1] Castele, Nick. “Cleveland Bail Project Has Paid Bonds for 175 Defendants.” Idea Stream. February 4, 2020. Accessed May 9, 2020. https://www.ideastream.org/news/cleveland-bail-project-has-paid-bonds-for-175-defendants ^
  5. Sweeney, Annie. “Nonprofit Uses Pooled Funds to Bail Out Dozens From Cook County Jail in the Face of COVID-19 Threat.” The Chicago Tribune. April 4, 2012. Accessed May 9, 2020. https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-coronavirus-cook-county-jail-mass-bail-20200403-eqatzgpemzg2jekyrvb23zpu6i-story.html ^
  6. “Our Work.” Bail Project. Accessed August 16, 2020. https://bailproject.org/our-work/ ^
  7. “After Cash Bail: A Framework for Reimagining Pretrial Justice.” The Bail Project. Accessed August 16, 2020. https://bailproject.org/after-cash-bail/#pretrial ^
  8. Jackson, David; Lighty, Todd; and Marx Gary. “Two Charities Bailed Scores of Felony Defendants Out of Cook County Jail. Some Were Soon Charged With New Crimes.” April 29, 2020. Accessed May 9, 2020. https://www.chicagotribune.com/investigations/ct-charities-bail-reform-cook-county-coronavirus-20200429-wgofyh4pnrdixgps76c7ck7bhu-story.html ^
  9. Sweeney, Annie. “Nonprofit Uses Pooled Funds to Bail Out Dozens From Cook County Jail in the Face of COVID-19 Threat.” The Chicago Tribune. April 3, 2020. Accessed May 9, 2020. https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-coronavirus-cook-county-jail-mass-bail-20200403-eqatzgpemzg2jekyrvb23zpu6i-story.html ^
  10. Louis, Katrina. “Bail Project Partners With Carolina Panthers to Post Bail for Inmates Before Thanksgiving.” Q City Metro. November 24, 2019. Accessed May 9, 2020. https://qcitymetro.com/2019/11/24/the-bail-project-partners-with-carolina-panthers-to-post-bail-for-charlotte-inmates-before-thanksgiving ^
  11. Hodson, Sandy. “Virus Prompts Push to Move Some Inmates Out of August Jail.” April 25, 2020. Accessed May 9, 2020. https://www.augustachronicle.com/news/20200425/virus-prompts-push-to-move-some-inmates-out-of-augusta-jail ^
  12. Siewart, Shereen. “Amid COVID-19, Some Defendants, Even With Lengthy Records, Released on Bond.” May 7, 2020. Accessed May 9, 2020. https://wausaupilotandreview.com/2020/05/07/amid-covid-19-some-defendants-even-with-lengthy-records-released-on-bond/ ^
  13. “Robin Steinberg.” The Bail Project. Accessed August 17, 2020.  https://bailproject.org/team/robin-steinberg/ ^
  14. “Yemi Adegbonmire.” The Bail Project. Accessed August 17, 2020. https://bailproject.org/team/yemi-adegbonmire ^
  15. “Brad Dudding.” The Bail Project. Accessed August 17, 2020. https://bailproject.org/team/brad-dudding/ ^
  16. “Zach Herz-Roiphe.” The Bail Project. Accessed August 17, 2020. https://bailproject.org/team/zach-herz-roiphe ^
  17. “Kaitlin Yoga.” The Bail Project. Accessed August 17, 2020. https://bailproject.org/team/kaitlin-koga ^
  18. “Chris McCain.” The Bail Project. Accessed August 17, 2020. https://bailproject.org/team/chris-mccain ^
  19. “Camilo Ramirez.” The Bail Project. Accessed August 17, 2020. https://bailproject.org/team/camilo-ramirez ^
  20. “Johanna Steinberg.” The Bail Project. Accessed August 17, 2020. https://bailproject.org/team/johanna-steinberg/ ^
  21. Funke, Daniel. “PolitiFact – Fact-Checking Disinformation about Louisville, a U-Haul and George Soros.” Politifact, September 24, 2020. https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/sep/24/facebook-posts/fact-checking-disinformation-about-louisville-u-ha/. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 2017

  • Available Filings

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Bail Project

    PO BOX 750
    VENICE, CA 90294-0750