DALLAS — Community and religious leaders will gather outside the Dallas County jail on Thursday with $100,000 at the ready to bail out as many inmates as possible in their fight against a cash bail system that, they say, disproportionately affects the poor and people of color.
The Faith in Texas Luke 4:18 Bail Fund is used weekly in Dallas to offer pre-trial freedom to those arrested for low-level offenses, but who don't have the financial means to post bail on their own.
Thursday, in a pre-Christmas offering, Faith in Texas will offer bail to as many as nine inmates: about as many as the $100,000 they have raised will stretch.
"We want to make a statement that we at Faith in Texas are here, that this bail fund is real, that we have every intention to keep this going for years to come until bail is not even an issue," said Mark Walters Jr., who directs the bail fund program at Faith in Texas.
He said they will also offer $100 in cash to each of those they successfully bond out on Thursday.
"People shouldn't serve a sentence before they are even convicted of a crime," said Walters.
"In the end, because they don't have the right resources, they end up being in jail for way more longer than me," said Faith in Texas bail recipient Devon Glenn.
Arrested on suspicion of DUI and unlicensed carry of a firearm in September, Glenn was sent to the Denton County jail and held on $6,000 bond.
Unable to pay for the bail on his own, Glenn stayed in jail for a week. But the graduate of Paul Quinn College was helped by the college president who vouched for him and who sought the help of Faith in Texas, which bailed him out pending trial.
"I just feel like some people just don't have that fighting chance that they're supposed to have," said Glenn.
Thursday, Faith in Texas leaders are also expected to call for Dallas County to shut down a tower at Lew Sterrett Jail and "reinvest the money and resources saved into new and existing community programs that aim to break cycles of poverty, violence, and incarceration."