The RMF Community Bail Fund collaborates with trusted partners to create a fund that will: 1) release defendants who cannot afford bail, providing them with support, information and referrals that can assist them until trial, and 2) advocate for shrinking and eventually eliminating the cash bail system.
The RMF Community Bail Fund core group consists of RMF members who wanted to focus on the problem of bail. We are all volunteers. Our activities are funded through donations, and all of those donations go toward our mission. Once we are fully operational, we will need more volunteers.
WHAT IS CASH BAIL? HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM A BAIL BOND?
Cash Bail is money paid to release an accused person from jail, with the promise that they will appear for trial. Failure to appear means forfeiting bail. The RMF Community Bail Fund will pay bail in full. After trial, bail will be returned to the Bail Fund.
Bail Bond is a fee paid to a third party like a bail bonds company, usually 10% of the total bail, in order to release the accused from jail. If the defendant does not appear for trial, the company must pay the full bail amount to the court. The defendant does not receive a refund of the fee paid to the company.
WHY DOES COLUMBIA NEED A BAIL FUND?
• “Average” bail in Boone County is difficult to calculate, as it can change from week to week. You can see from the Bail Schedule that it can be several hundred for misdemeanors or several thousand for low level felonies.
• For people who are unemployed or living on the edge, any amount of bail causes unjust hardship for people held in jail before trial because they cannot afford to pay.
• Accused have not been convicted of crime, but they are being punished by being held in jail until trial.
• Accused are prevented from working, going to school, taking care of families.
• Accused who can pay, or whose families can pay, spend little time in jail and are free to live their lives in the community until trial.