The Open Philanthropy Project awarded a grant of $404,800 to the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund (BCBF) for general support.
As part of Open Philanthropy's work on criminal justice reform, it has identified bail reform as a highly impactful area of policy change that it believes could substantially reduce incarceration in numerous jurisdictions around the country. The bail reform landscape includes litigation, advocacy, communications, technical assistance for governmental actors, and bail funds, among other things. This grant pertains to the category of bail funds.
BCBF, which began operations in 2015 in Brooklyn, NY, pays bail amounts of $2,000 or less for misdemeanor defendants who cannot otherwise afford to pay bail. This approach allows defendants to return home rather than going to jail while awaiting trial, and is intended to avoid coerced guilty pleas and other harms caused by pre-trial detention. In addition to its local work, BCBF provides strategic and technical assistance to a broad range of organizations considering establishing bail funds in other jurisdictions.