Article from Reason by Scott Shackford.

Some criminal justice reformers aren’t waiting for court systems to “fix” bail so that poor people aren’t stuck behind bars even when they’re not flight risks or community threats. Some charitable people have launched community bail fund organizations that collect donations and then use that money to bail out people who cannot afford to cover the costs themselves. If those defendants behave and return to court as promised, the money is returned to the community group and can be used again for others.

One such group is the New Orleans Bail and Safety Fund, whose members say they’ve paid bail for about 200 people since it was founded a year ago.

New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro isn’t happy about that. Accusing the group of being naïve about the folks it’s dealing with, he tells New Orleans’ Fox affiliate that the fund is “playing a very dangerous game with public safety.”

What drew this sudden attention to the group? It put up the bond for a guy named DeQuan Ayers, who was arrested for possessing two and a half pounds of marijuana. His bond was set for $3,500. Though Ayers’ crimes may seem like small potatoes here, he had a lengthy criminal background and a history of not showing up for court. He was later arrested for allegedly beating up and robbing a tourist in the French Quarter. A magistrate subsequently increased his bond to $50,000.

Read the entire article at Reason.

Image Credit: By Jericho [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons