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The Bail Project

Presented at TED, Robin Steinberg's bold plan is based on equality and the simple but essential importance of freedom

by Josh Rubin
on 16 April 2018

In a moving and ultimately educational talk, Robin Steinberg (public defender and CEO of The Bail Project) outlined her bold, ambitious and wildly important plan to combat the unjust mass imprisonment of low-income and at-risk Americans. The Bail Project (part of TED's new Audacious Project) is based on Steinberg's Bronx Freedom Fund, which essentially offers bail money to those who need it most. Speaking passionately about the project, Steinberg explained the sheer injustice of the bail system, how it negatively effects low-income offenders, and just how successful funds like these can be—when the Bronx Freedom Fund pays bail, over half the cases are dismissed, and in the history of the Fund, less than 2% of their clients have received a sentence.

The Bail Project's goal is simple: to spread this model across the country and pay bail for some 160,000 people, "attacking the front-end of the legal system before incarceration begins." Steinberg explains how bail was meant to function (and how it unfortunately does) as well as just how simple, logical but important the project is—offering broad statistics as well as the inspiring story of Ramel Edwards. Putting it simply, Steinberg says, "I am here to say something simple, something obvious, but something urgent: freedom makes all the difference, and freedom should be free."

Read more about The Bail Project (and the Bronx Freedom Fund) online.

Image courtesy of TED

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