Minneapolis No-Bail Alternative Fund Proposed

Minneapolis skyline featured image for Minnesota Freedom Fund
A new, no-bail alternative program was introduced to Minneapolis. Called the Minnesota Freedom fund, the alternative program seeks to pair social workers with those charged with low-level crimes and offenses. It also aims to help see that they show up in court. Currently, lower-income individuals wind up spending their pretrial period behind bars, something that directly flies in the face of our nation’s “Presumption of Innocence.” Additionally, keeping these low-income individuals behind bars costs the state and city over $140 dollars a day. In other words, the current system literally “extracting wealth from communities” (Tonja Honsey, Executive Director of the Minnesota Freedom Fund).

What is the Proposed Alternative?

The proposed alternative to the existing cash bail system for low-income pretrial prisoners is known as the Minnesota Freedom Fund. The fund aims to provide incarcerated, low-income individuals with the monies needed to secure bail. While yes, bail bond companies already do some to mitigate the problem, even bail bonds are often out of reach for several defendants. The  Fund aims to help put the right to bail within reach of these lower-income and impoverished defendants.

Will The City Council Approve the Minnesota Freedom Fund?

Cash bail reform was on the docket for the city council last session, but the legislation stalled and never came to fruition. Currently, the Minnesota Freedom Fund legislature is slated for review and consideration during the next session. For the fund to function as intended, the city council must reach a decision before January. Otherwise, the fund will have to wait an entire year to see any change. In other words, the budget still needs approval for the fund to come to fruition.