Appolition launched weeks ago and has already raised more than $ 11,000 to bail people out of jail.
The vast majority of the 700,000 people that are incarcerated in America’s local jails have not been convicted of a crime. Not afford bail and awaiting trial, they are separated from society in a significant reduction of the cost to the taxpayer.
“Appolition,” a new app launched two weeks ago, wants to change this with a simple idea: Why not allow ordinary people to donate their spare change purchases to help low-income incarcerated people make bail?
The app, taking a cue from crowdfunding sites such as GoFundMe, connects to your bank account, and every debit card purchase is rounded to the nearest dollar and donated every time that you are at least 50 cents in spare change. You can pause and resume your donations at any time via the app and you can pay with credit cards soon.
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“Our short term goals are to get as many people home for the holidays as possible,” Dr. Kortney Ziegler, co-founder of Appolition, told Fox News.
Cash bail is intended to ensure that defendants do not disappear between arrest, detention and trial, and it can vary from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands. However, those who can’t afford bail are kept in prison before they even have a trial.
Jail cells are seen in the Enhanced Supervision Housing unit at the Rikers Island Correctional facility in New York.
Appolition partners with the National Bail Out, a group that helps with bail amounts of up to $2,000. An organization that is the National Bail Out works, Brooklyn Bail Fund helps people who are in dire straits: low-income mothers, who are suffering from addiction and abuse survivors, for example. The law restricts the bail assistance to people who are responsible for the violations.
Although the app launched only three weeks ago, 5,000 users have signed up and raised a total of $11,000. So far, nine people have been rescued, because of funds provided by the app (with the average of bail amounts to approximately $910).
Ziegler first tweeted about the idea in July, and soon enough, connected with people who have expertise in the construction of crowdfunding software to the launch of the platform.
According to a study by the Vera Institute of Justice, the annual cost per incarcerated individual, an average of $47,057 in 35 different jurisdictions.
An app that converts your daily change in bail money to free black people.
King, Kortney (@fakerapper) 23 July 2017
The app comes at a time when lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Rand Paul (R-Button.), have called for bail reform as a way to reduce America’s prison population, at 2.2 million is the highest in the world.
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In August 2016, the Ministry of Justice submitted a document to the Georgia federal court of appeals with the argument that it is unlawful to jail someone who can’t afford their bail. The ministry of justice submitted the document in response to the case of a Georgia man Maurice Walker, who was charged with a felony offense and have six nights in jail because he could not pay the $160 bail.
Lawyers who want to see cash bail reformed or abolished point to the case of the Caliph Browder, who at 16, was locked up on Riker’s Island for three years, which included 800 days in solitary confinement, after being accused of stealing a backpack containing a camera, although he was released in 2013 because of a lack of evidence, Browder fought depression after his experience, and committed suicide on June 6, 2015.
Flowers rest on top of photos of Caliph Browder in New York. Browder is held there for three years without being convicted of a crime.
New York City jails held an average of 3,931 inmates a day in 2016, who could not make bail, cost the taxpayer about $116 million—the city’s Independent Budget Office recently reported. In about half of the cases where bail was the problem, the amount that would result in freedom was $5,000 or less.
The money bail system disproportionately effects those who are poor. According to a 2016 report by the Prison Policy Initiative, people in the prison had a median income of only $15,109 prior to their incarceration — half that of non-incarcerated people.
“In the long term, we see the platform is used in a variety of ways to bring the voice of people in need than just a financial contribution,” said Ziegler.
Christopher Carbone is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @christocarbone.