Colin Kaepernick has teamed up with the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights foundation to help bail people out of jail due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The two organizations announced a $1 million donation to community bail funds as coronavirus cases continue to soar, particularly among those incarcerated.
The Funds for Freedom partnership—expanding upon Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ Emergency Bail Out Action earlier this year—will start by targeting 10 cities across the country, immediately providing local organizers with the resources to release people caged in jails on unaffordable money bail as the threat of COVID-19 continues to rise behind bars.
According to the press release, the five largest clusters of COVID-19 are in jails and prisons, where deaths tied to the virus have shot up by 73% in recent months. This comes at a time when more than 10,000 people have been arrested in connection to protests condemning police brutality, further churning people through jails and increasing the risk of an outbreak that endangers the lives of those behind bars and could spread to the wider community.
Seventy percent of people in local jails—some 536,000 people on any given day—are forced to languish behind bars while they await their day in court, a cruel and unnecessary punishment that has been found to have devastating, long-term consequences. People detained in jail simply because they can’t afford their bail are four times more likely to be sentenced to prison than their wealthier peers. And as with most of the criminal legal system, this has disproportionately harmed the Black community. Not only are Black people overrepresented in jails but they’re also more likely to receive higher bail amounts, even though they are less likely to be able to afford it.