UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — A Maryland-based group is working to get at least 15 women out of jail before Mother’s Day.
‘Free Black Mamas DMV’ is bailing out women who were arrested for minor crimes and cannot afford to get from behind bars.
“We are talking about both biological mothers, community mamas, community aunties, caretakers – bailing them out to raise public consciousness about the inhumanity of cash bail,” Samantha Master said.
The coalition plans to bail the more than one dozen women in Maryland, including places like Prince George’s County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, and Baltimore City.
“Black people make up 33 percent of Maryland’s total population and over 60 percent of all of those incarcerated in Maryland,” Master explained.
The effort is part of a push to end cash bail systems and pre-trial detention across the country.
“These women that are in cages have not been convicted of any crimes. A lot of the times it has been proven that they won’t be convicted of any crimes because their cases are dropped,” Qiana Johnson, with Life After Release, told WUSA9.
“You can be bailed out for murder. You can also be bailed out for standing in front of the 7-Eleven for too long,” Master said. “What we know is that people’s ability to pay is the only thing that separate’s them from this side of the cage and that side of the cage. That is absolutely not any way any system that says that it is just should ever work.”
In the ’90s, D.C. stopped holding people on bail.
Instead, the current D.C. bail reform act requires suspects to see a judge within one day after being arrested unless it is on a weekend.
However, the cash bail system still exists in Maryland and Virginia.
“We’re not free until all of our people are free. We keep us safe. This system right here don’t keep us safe,” Nee Nee Taylor, with Black Lives Matter D.C., said.
All the money to bail out the women comes from grassroots donations.
“It is simply money that is keeping people caged, and that is completely inhumane,” Master concluded.