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Jay Z Taking on Exploitative Bail Industry

Travis Ketzak
By Travis Ketzak / June 19, 2017

For Father’s Day this year, rapper and philanthropist Shawn Carter, better known by his stage name Jay Z, is supporting organizations that bail out unconvicted fathers who can’t afford their own bail.

Our criminal justice system works under an “innocent until proven guilty” policy. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many. When someone is arrested, they are jailed until their bail is paid, even before their trial. This means that for low-income individuals that can’t afford to pay their bail, they are stuck in jail until their trial, often for months.

Insurance companies have taken over the bail bond collectors recently, turning it into a for-profit industry. This drive for profits only encourages the over-policing and crime accusations of minorities. Studies have shown that one in nine black children have or have had a parent in jail.

The bail bond industry is destroying families, and Jay Z is extremely moved by that fact. “Millions of people are separated from their families for months at a time — not because they are convicted of committing a crime, but because they are accused of committing a crime,” he said. “I became obsessed with the injustice of the profitable bail bond industry.”

Last Mother’s Day, organizations like Southerners on New Ground and Color of Change fundraised to bail out 100 mothers from this oppressive system. For Father’s Day this year, Jay Z is supporting these same organizations to do the same for fathers.

Jay Z hopes that this will be the first step in fixing our criminal justice system and taking on the exploitative bail bond industry.