Jay Z Goes After Bail Bond Industry

Too many minorities are locked up because they can't afford to post bond, he writes
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2017 12:06 PM CDT
Jay Z's Other Father's Day Focus: Greedy Bail Industry
Jay Z performs in 2016.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Jay Z is surely having a memorable Father's Day, but he's also using the occasion to push a serious issue: the plight of people stuck in jail because they can't afford bail. As he writes in Time, the celeb is talking about people merely accused of a crime, not convicted of one. "If you're from neighborhoods like the Brooklyn one I grew up in, if you're unable to afford a private attorney, then you can be disappeared into our jail system simply because you can't afford bail," he writes. The issue resonated with him after he helped produce a docuseries about Kalief Browder, who committed suicide at 22 after spending years in isolation at Rikers. Browder's trouble started when he was accused of stealing a backpack at age 16 but didn't have the money to post bond.

"When black and brown people are over-policed and arrested and accused of crimes at higher rates than others, and then forced to pay for their freedom before they ever see trial, big bail companies prosper," writes Jay Z. For Father's Day, he is supporting a drive to help bail out men who can't afford to do so themselves, but he writes that "philanthropy is not a long fix." The system, and the "inhumane practices" that result, is in dire need of reform, he writes. "We can't fix our broken criminal justice system until we take on the exploitative bail industry." Click for his full post. (More Jay Z stories.)

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