The National Bail Out Collective, a formation of Black organizers committed to building a community-based movement to end pretrial detention, created this toolkit as a resource for other groups interested in using bail outs as a tactic. The collective, which consists of groups in over a dozen states, has bailed out over 200 people since we launched in May 2017 with our Black Mama's Bail Outs.
This toolkit provides an overview of the bailout process; answers to frequently asked questions about bail and bail reform; a step by step guide on how to develop a bail out and supportive services plan; communications and fundraising tips; reflections on what happens after you post bail; and resources for those interested in leveraging their bail outs to advocate for the end of money bail. The toolkit can be used as a guide as groups embark on the considerable planning and feasibility work necessary to conduct a bail out in their city.
We work in Black communities, often focusing on Black women (cis and trans), because although our communities are disproportionately impacted we are often excluded from conversations about the solutions. As a result the language throughout this toolkit is centered on Black liberation. This is because we believe Black liberation is a prerequisite to the liberation of all people. We recognize that many people who will use this toolkit will not be Black and may decide to expand their bail outs beyond Black communities. We excitedly invite people from every community to learn from our work and disrupt this system that harms us all. We encourage you to tailor the language where necessary.
Our bail outs are a key component of our broader strategy to build the power of local organizations so they can end the use of money bail and start to experiment with community based support systems, which will replace cages. Similarly, we hope that you will approach your bail outs as a tactic, rather than the goal, and will leverage them to end money bail and the underlying systems that keep so many in cages. We hope that this toolkit will serve as a useful guide as you begin your bail out journey.