Advocates give mothers who can't afford bail the gift of freedom

Antionette Lee
May 14, 2019 - 7:12 pm
A troop of women in red took over the City Hall courtyard Tuesday afternoon to rally for an end to Philadelphia's cash bail system, and for some, it was a day of celebration.

Antionette Lee/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A troop of women in red took over the City Hall courtyard Tuesday afternoon to rally for an end to Philadelphia's cash bail system, and for some, it was a day of celebration. 

Veronica Rex says she sat in prison for 90 days because she couldn't afford 10% of her $50,000 bond.

"Had my daughter not made contact with the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund, I would've actually been still incarcerated at the time my son was murdered," Rex said. 

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Rex says she got to bury her son, but the time lost couldn't be replaced. 

"You lose so much in that time. All the holidays went by, I missed grandbabies being born," she said. 

A troop of women in red took over the City Hall courtyard Tuesday afternoon to rally for an end to Philadelphia's cash bail system, and for some, it was a day of celebration.
Antionette Lee/KYW Newsradio

The group partnered with the People's Paper Co-op to help raise more than $130,000 to free mothers in time for Mother's Day.   

"If they were rich, they would automatically be out anyway. Really, you're saying you don't want these poor people to be out," said Devren Washington, an organizer with the Fund. 

Washington says Philadelphia's cash bail system is unfair and further disadvantages poor families and communities, which is why they're fighting to end it as part of the National Bail Out movement, an effort to end pretrial detention and ultimately, mass incarceration.

"And its been working. We've gone from 8,500 people that were held pretrial down to 4,500," Washington added.