Economic Opportunity Challenge

Making Freedom Free: Bail and Economic Mobility in the South

The Bail Project, Inc.

By providing free bail assistance and wraparound services to thousands of low-income people throughout the South, we can prevent tremendous harm and catalyze economic opportunity.

DOWNLOAD: Project Factsheet
Two-page overview of proposal
Competition Participation
Economic Opportunity Challenge
Criminal justice
Current Work Location(s):
  • California, United States
  • Georgia, United States
  • North Carolina, United States
  • Kentucky, United States
  • Louisiana, United States
  • Fulton County, Georgia, United States
  • DeKalb County, Georgia, United States
  • Greenville County, South Carolina, United States
Priority Population(s):
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Incarcerated people
  • Detainees
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
  • 1. No poverty
  • 10. Reduced inequalities
  • 16. Peace, justice and strong institutions

Executive Summary

Pretrial incarceration destabilizes those who are already most marginalized: it turns housing instability into homelessness, minimum wage into unemployment, and accusations into convictions. Tonight, nearly half a million Americans, disproportionately people of color, will sleep in jail cells across the U.S. because they are too poor to buy their freedom. Legally presumed innocent but trapped behind bars, many will trade guilty pleas in exchange for their liberty, taking criminal records that will follow them into the job market and beyond. The Bail Project pays bail for those who can’t afford it, returning them to their families, jobs, and communities as they fight their cases. We then connect them to employment services and other resources in the community, and we advocate for systemic changes to our pretrial system. We currently operate in over 20 jurisdictions across the country, and we aim to expand further into the Southern United States.

Organization Details
Lead Organization

The Bail Project, Inc.

Organization Headquarters
California, United States
Organization ID
Annual Operating Budget
$10.1 to 25 Million
Number of Full-time Employees
51 to 100

Charity, fund, non-governmental organization, religious institution, school, or other entity