Right now, there are over 2 million incarcerated people in the United States, predominantly Black and Latinx. Almost half a million of these people are being held on pretrial bond (bail); cash bail penalizes poverty and reproduces racism. In 2015, nationwide the median bail was $10,000, while the median pre-incarceration annual income of people incarcerated was $15,000. Black people are twice as likely to be held pretrial as white people and Muslims in pretrial detention face an increased risk of victimization, surveillance and denial of religious freedom in the prison system due to anti-Muslim racism (Islamophobia).
Believers Bail Out is a community-led effort to bail out Muslims in pretrial incarceration as a form of zakat. By paying bond, Believers Bail Out restores the presumption of innocence before trial and enables recipients to remain free while fighting their cases. It is in our capacity, and our duty as Muslims to be a part of ending this cycle that criminalizes poverty and is inherently racist in nature.
Through an outpouring of community support and Zakat donations during the month of Ramadan, the Believers Bail Out campaign has already helped families reunite.