Tucson Second Chance Community Bail Fund

Community Highlight:

Tucson Second Chance Community Bail Fund

“Through education, community organizing, and bail relief we are fighting to end the criminalization of poverty in Pima County”

The Tucson Second Chance Community Bail Fund is a Black-led abolitionist revolving bail fund led by daughter & mother team Tiera Rainey and Lola Rainey.

The mission of TSCCBF is to “end the unjust criminalization of poverty and the practice of pretrial detention in Pima County.” TSCCBF posts bond primarily for individuals from black, brown and indigenous communities who are unjustly detained while waiting for trial simply because they cannot afford bail. 

The Prime Leaf is proud to stand with TSCCBF in their fight to end the criminalization of poverty, the practice of pretrial detention and the cash-bail system.  

In their own words: “The Tucson Second Chance Community Bail Fund (TSCCBF) was established through a Black Lives Matter Tucson (BLM Tucson) ‘Mama’s Day Bailout’ campaign in May of 2017. That campaign sought to raise money to free mothers in jail. It also helped to raise awareness about the inequities and immorality of using a cash bail system. The ‘Mama’s Day Bailout’ was a success but it also helped illuminate the need for ongoing cash bail assistance initiatives here in Pima County. The Second Chance Bail Fund Coalition (made up of local lawyers, activists, and concerned citizens) was created to manage and facilitate the creation of TSCCBF in late summer of 2017.”

As stated on their website, in 2018, TSCCBF launched the “Have a Heart Campaign” which established a FREE 30 minute visit with a loved one incarcerated at the Pima County Jail. This effort lightened the financial burden on the families of the incarcerated while calling out the unjust “pay-to-visit” policy of the Pima County Jail.

How can the TSCCBF help you?

If a loved one is arrested with a set bail, you can apply here for assistance. Your application will be processed and upon approval, TSCCBF will pay the bail for free and your loved one will be returned to your family. 

What is pretrial detention and cash-bail?

Pretrial detention keeps an individual accused in a criminal case in jail before the trial takes place. The individual has not yet been convicted of a crime but is kept in custody due to an inability to post bail or due to a pretrial detention statute. 

The cash-bail system determines the ability of an individual who is arrested, wrongfully or not, to leave jail and return to their families and communities before their trial. This system has become a significant barrier for those who cannot afford bail and are therefore kept in pretrial detention resulting in a system that further perpetuates poverty and hardship on already impoverished communities and communities of color. 

Why end pretrial detention?

  • Pretrial detention places criminal defendants at a huge disadvantage within the legal system. They are more likely to be convicted—especially by guilty plea, which is often the fastest way out of detention. (source: pogo.org)
  • It would reduce taxpayer costs.
  • It would reduce jail populations significantly across the country. Nearly 70-80% of those in Pima County Jail are being held pre-trial.
  • Ending pretrial detention would also increase the chance of those in the criminal legal system achieving better outcomes (probation rather than prison time)
  • The current pretrial detention system overwhelmingly benefits those with means and privilege. Maintaining that status quo is unjust and unfair. 

Additional statistics from Tucson Second Chance Community Bail Fund:

  • Arizona has the 5th highest incarceration rate in the United States. 
  • 70%-80% of those incarcerated at the Pima County jail are there on pretrial status, meaning that they have not been convicted of a crime.
  • In Tucson, city court magistrates and superior court judges continue to impose high cash bonds. This keeps the Pima County Jail population at near capacity level. Even low cash bonds under $1000 can be beyond the ability of many people to pay. This keeps them away from their families, unable to keep their jobs and more likely to plead guilty to get out of jail.
  • The problem of pretrial detention is further exacerbated by the Arizona Courts use of PSAs (Public Safety Assessments).
  • These so-called science-based assessments are deeply flawed. They perpetuate the same race and class divisions already institutionalized by the implicit bias of judges. Over 100+ human rights and civil rights groups from around the country, including TSCCBF, have strongly condemned this use of PSAs.

If you would like to learn more or donate to the Tucson Second Chance Community Bail Fund, please visit https://www.tucsonbailfund.org