Why end wealth-based detention?


People are Incarcerated on Rikers Island

Our political leaders talk a lot about creating a city that will work for all New Yorkers. But today, access to justice depends on whether you can afford bail. The majority of people incarcerated in the notoriously violent Rikers Island are behind bars for the crime of being too poor.




Those 8,500 people have been arrested for allegedly committing an offense by a law enforcement system proven to disproportionately target black and brown communities.

Courts in 2013 ruled that the practice of 'Stop & Frisk' was unconstitutional. Yet, law enforcement agencies still employ pervasive practices that contribute to an overwhelming black and brown population on Rikers Island. Why? Because these individuals come from under-resourced and over-policed communities.

Most people on Rikers Island are awaiting trail. Time awaiting trial means they miss work... and holidays... and family milestones. Some are locked up for days. Others for weeks. Many for years. And their lives are put on hold simply because they cannot afford to make bail. Their crime, at this point in time, is being too poor to be free.

It's time for us to make justice work for all New Yorkers. Research has proven: People accused of crimes will largely return to court and do not need to be subjected to indefinite pre-trial detention or financial ransoms.

It's Time 

For Collective Action


What is the mass bail out action?




Yet our system has normalized the practice of unaffordable money bail for people who haven't been convicted--destroying poor, black and brown communities throughout our city.

Through this Mass Bail Out, we intend to begin the process of making justice real for all of us, redefining how we invest in our communities, and divesting from harmful (and expensive) practices that do not make us safer.

The Goal: 

Posting bail for hundreds of people.

The Mass Bail Out will focus on freeing children and women, resulting in a dramatic decrease in the children’s and women’s facilities on Rikers, demonstrating that decarceration is possible now. To do this, we will raise millions of dollars and rely on hundreds of volunteers, commencing the action on October 1st.

Together we'll prove through a strategic, concentrated action that Rikers can be shut down sooner than our politicians have projected.




The Mass Bail Out will continue to put pressure on those who can get rid of this unjust practice: our District Attorneys, the City, and State. They have failed to put forward immediate and available solutions to end wealth-based detention and close Rikers Island. And we will not be complicit in their denial of freedom to our loved ones.


Who are we bailing out of jail?

The Mass Bail Out will focus on two distinct populations: women and children, locked up in cages on Rikers Island and at the Horizon Juvenile (Detention) Center.

500 WOMEN 




On any given day these women and children endure neglect and abuse-never knowing when freedom will come.


cannot afford 

the ransom price on their freedom

The psychological, emotional, physiological and economic impact is profound. The children detained at Rikers and moved just days before October 1st to Horizons Juvenile (Detention) Center are isolated from family school, and community.

While the city complied with the Raise the Age law just before the deadline, the result was moving those children from one cage on Rikers Island to another cage in the Bronx. Children belong in classrooms not cages. So it’s up to the collective community action to bail them out.

Women and transwomen remain on the notoriously violent Rikers island. The Rose M. Singer Center (RSMC) jail complex cages over 500 women, 4 out of 5 of whom are caregivers separated from their families. We are going to bail these women out.

This large-scale bailout will show a dramatic drop in the population of women and children, and serve as an opportunity to reimagine justice. Together we can close Rikers on our timeline and start investing in communities harmed by these generational practices.


How are we going to bail them out?

We’re organizing hundreds of volunteers. Volunteers can sign up to pay bail at any of NYC’s four bail windows located at jails across the city, or to help at the on-call community mobile response unit to provide support to people who have just been bailed out as well as their families and their communities.

We are mindful of the potential needs of 

community members 

who have been detained

Support post-release is essential. To that end, we are partnering with organizations providing services specifically for women and children, as well as their families and their communities.

We will also leverage the support of community networks to aid those newly released who may benefit from peer navigators as they return to their communities, including managing subsequent court dates.


What will our impact be?

The potential impact of this action is 


The Mayor has agreed to close Rikers, but has presented a ten-year timeline, with an incremental goal of first reducing the Rikers population to a daily average of 5,000 detained New Yorkers. By demonstrating that we can made a radical change and speed up the timeline, we can force politicians' hands to close Rikers now.

We're asking 

elected officials 

to take steps well within their control

This includes ending requests by elected District Attorneys for unaffordable money bail; redirecting taxpayer dollars to community resources like supportive housing; trading school correction officers for counselors, mediators and social workers; and increasing access to healthcare.

We believe this action can force the closure of the notorious Rikers Island, making freedom a reality today.