For people awaiting trial, the ability to pay bail and be released from pretrial detention can have a meaningful impact on the outcome of their case. According to a 2017 study, pretrial detention leads to a 13% increase in being convicted, a 41% increase in the amount of non-bail court fees owed and a 42% increase in the length of the incarceration sentence. The accused are often forced to turn to predatory bail bondsmen who charge non-refundable premiums, and force the accused, along with their friends and family to give up substantial privacy, along with many property rights. Ultimately draining more resources from already cash strapped communities. Unlike bondsmen, the WFA is a rolling community bond fund, dedicated to removing the accused who happen to be indigent from pretrial incarceration.
According to a report on the state of the criminal justice system in the state of Delaware “African American men, women, and children represent a disproportionately high number of individuals detained prior to trial, representing 56 percent of the pretrial detention population despite comprising only 22 percent of the state population.” Even spending 24 hours in jail can worsen long term outcomes, but the same report found that over 65% of those detained wait at least 30 days until trial, and 3% wait over a year. Sitting in pretrial detention effects employment, caregiving, bills, along with the emotional and physical wellbeing of the accused.
This all contributes to the cycles of poverty and criminality in lower income neighborhoods in Wilmington. Our goal is to help break that cycle.
While it is not possible to post bail for every person who needs it, WFA prioritizes people whose communities have been particularly impacted by police violence. Specifically; BIPOC people, women, undocumented people, children, LGBTQIA+ people, sex workers, pregnant people, the elderly, victims of domestic violence, and victims of police violence. The nature of the alleged crime will not be considered when making a decision.
Our sister organization, Food Not Bombs Wilmington, is dedicated to building a community mutual aid network in Wilmington, Delaware. Food Not Bombs provides free community meals and groceries to people in Wilmington, along with other essentials such as clothing, hygiene supplies, and narcan.
Mutual aid is an essential part of the struggle for the abolition of police and prisons. Communities must be able to support their members independent of the state and capitalism, and must work to address conflicts in a way that prioritizes healing and growth for all parties involved. Food Not Bombs Wilmington believes that providing free food is a first step toward the formation of a truly self-sufficient, mutual-aid based society. Food is a universal human need, and the work of feeding people is an easy entry point for anyone who is interested in mutual aid-based direct action. We cannot liberate ourselves if we cannot take care of each other.