The United States is known for having one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, fueled by the Drug War, a bought-off justice system, and the ever-flourishing prison-industrial complex.
With special interests from police unions to prison guard unions fueling mass incarceration (to say nothing of the private prison lobby), it is not difficult to understand why the supposedly freest country in the world has so much of its population behind bars.
At face value, the system’s corruption and breadth appear too overwhelming to tackle head on, but a new app places power in the hands of ordinary consumers, allowing them to chip away at some of the seemingly intractable authority of the U.S. prison system.
Appolition — a combination of “app” and “abolition” — is a simple program that allows users to donate pennies from their everyday purchases toward bail funds for people who otherwise cannot afford to gather the money. It simply rounds up transaction amounts on debit, credit, and PayPal to the nearest dollar and donates the difference to National Bail Out, an organization of grassroots groups that work “to end money bail and in the meantime get as many people out of cages and back to their families as we can.” Ultimately, this provides an easy, effective opportunity to disrupt a major component of mass incarceration.
According to National Bail Out:
Everyday tens of thousands of people languish in jail simply because they cannot afford bail. In addition to the over $9 billion wasted to incarcerate people who have been convicted of no crime, pre-trial incarceration has catastrophic impacts on families and communities. Even a few days in jail can ruin a person’s life. They may lose their job, their family may lose housing and some even lose their children.
Read more: App That Crowdsources Bail Lets Anyone Help Disrupt America’s Mass Incarceration