The Bronx Freedom Fund

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The Bronx Freedom Fund
Established March 2009; 9 years ago (2009-03)
Founders Robin Steinberg and David Feige
Type charitable bail organization
Legal status 501(c)(3)
Purpose humanitarian
Headquarters 360 East 161st Street, Bronx, NY 10451
Location
Services bail services
Key people
Jason Flom
Affiliations The Bronx Defenders
Website thebronxfreedomfund.org

The Bronx Freedom Fund is a nonprofit bail fund located in the South Bronx.[1] The first charitable bail organization in New York State,[2] it provides bail assistance to indigent defendants facing pretrial detention for low-level and misdemeanor charges.[3] It was founded by David Feige, a producer, writer, and law professor, and Robin Steinberg, the founder and chief executive of The Bronx Defenders.[2] Its first grant came from the CEO of Lava Records, Jason Flom, and the Flom Family Foundation.[4]

The Bronx Freedom Fund bailed out nearly 200 people from 2007 to 2009. It closed its doors in 2009 after Judge Ralph Fabrizio ruled that it was an uninsured bail-bond business.[5] Its co-founders, along with state senator Gustavo Rivera and then-assemblymen Phil Boyle, drafted a set of amendments allowing for a charitable exemption to the bail and insurance laws.[6] The bill, sponsored by Senator Rivera, passed unanimously through both chambers of the state legislature in 2011. It was vetoed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, and a revised bill passed in 2012.[7] The Bronx Freedom Fund reopened its doors and began to post bail, freeing hundreds of people between 2013 and 2015.[8]

In 2015, The Bronx Freedom Fund began a substantial expansion, raising additional funds, hiring new bail associates and significantly increasing its capacity, including expanding operations into other boroughs. Currently, the Freedom Fund is on track to bail out over 1,000 people per year. Also in 2015, the organization was awarded the National Criminal Justice Association's Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award for the Northeast Region.[9]

In November of 2017, the Bronx Freedom Fund expanded again, re-launching as The Bail Project with the aim of establishing 40 bail funds across the nation to free over 150,000 people. [10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Williams, Jaime (28 February 2015). "Borough's charitable bail fund touts success". The Bronx Times. Retrieved 19 February 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Turkewitz, Julie (22 January 2014). "Helping Poor Defendants Post Bail in Backlogged Bronx". New York Times. Retrieved 19 February 2016. 
  3. ^ Ewing, Maura (3 September 2015). "Punished for Being Poor". Retrieved 19 February 2016 – via The Pacific Standard. 
  4. ^ "An Interview with Lava Records CEO, Jason Flom". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-02-19. 
  5. ^ "People v Miranda". Justia Law. Retrieved 2016-02-19. 
  6. ^ "Bills". assembly.state.ny.us. Retrieved 2016-02-19. 
  7. ^ Pinto, Nick. "Making Bail Better". Village Voice. Retrieved 2016-02-19. 
  8. ^ "2015 Annual Report" (PDF). The Bronx Freedom Fund. Retrieved 19 February 2016. 
  9. ^ "Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Awards: Past Winners". National Criminal Justice Association. Retrieved 19 February 2016. 
  10. ^ https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/bail-disrupters-have-plan-free-thousands-u-s-jails-n822481