Have A Heart
In 2018, Tucson Bail Fund launched its “Have A Heart” campaign which gave 30 Tucson families one FREE visit with a loved one incarcerated at the Pima County Jail (one 30 minute video visit). The campaign’s goal was not only to help lighten the financial burden on families of the incarcerated but aimed to call attention to how the Pima County Jail’s sole “pay-to-visit” policy unjust and created unnecessary financial hardships. Coverage can be found HERE
Risk assessment tools (RATs) were mandated for use by Arizona Courts in 2015, Yet, the number of pretrial detainees at the Pima County Jail remain high. In 2019, TSCCBF launched an anti-RATs campaign to establish algorithm bias, to force magistrates to comply with RATs scores and compel magistrates to disclose how RATs scores are factored into pretrial release decisions.
In 2020, Tucson Bail Fund (in coalition with Black Lives Matter Tucson) joined in the fight to #DefundLawEnforcement in order to #FundBlackFutures. Meeting the moment of national uprising, Tucson Bail Fund heard our local community saying, “No more investment into the things that do not make us safe.” The #FundBlackFutures campaign drew connections on how the abolitionist strategy of defunding bloated law enforcement budgets could be diverted into resourcing our community with rent assistance, mental health therapists (independent from the police), and transportation vouchers. This campaign also worked to push the Tucson City Council (via its participatory budget process) to recognize that a major component of racial equity is investing tax dollars back into our most marginalized communities rather than institutions that solely exist to criminalize and punish. Learn more HERE and HERE
- 70%-80% of those being incarcerated at the Pima County jail are there on pretrial status, meaning that they have not been convicted of a crime.
- Although violent crime is at historic lows, Arizona still has the 5th highest incarceration rate in the U.S. and the highest of all western states.
- Here in Tucson, city court magistrates and superior court judges continue to impose high cash bonds. This keeps the Pima County Jail population at near capacity level. Even low cash bonds under $1000 can be beyond the ability of many people to pay. This keeps them away from their families, unable to keep their jobs and more likely to plead guilty to get out of jail.
- The problem of pretrial detention is further exacerbated by the Arizona Courts use of PSAs (Public Safety Assessments).
- These so-called science-based assessments are deeply flawed. They perpetuate the same race and class divisions already institutionalized by the implicit bias of judges. Over 100+ human rights and civil rights groups from around the country, including TBF, have strongly condemned this use of PSAs.
What is now the Tucson Bail Fund (TBF) was established through a Black Lives Matter Tucson (BLM Tucson) “Mama’s Day Bailout” campaign in May of 2017. That campaign sought to raise money to free mothers in jail. It also helped to raise awareness about the inequities and immorality of using a cash bail system. The “Mama Day Bailout” was a success but it also helped illuminate the need for ongoing cash bail assistance initiatives here in Pima County. The Second Chance Bail Fund Coalition (made up of local lawyers, activists, and concerned citizens) was created to manage and facilitate the creation of Tucson Second Chance Community Bail Fund (TSCCBF) in late summer of 2017. In 2023 we updated our name to Tucson Bail Fund. We are fiscally sponsored by 501(C)(3) The Praxis Project. Learn more about The Praxis Project here.
Our approach reflects the people we serve.
Tiera Rainey is a proud second-generation Tucsonan and is the Executive Director of TBF. She previously served as the Director of Programs for the bail fund. She received her B.A. in Anthropology from Vassar College and an M.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University. A passionate abolitionist, Tiera spent 4 years as a lead organizer with Black Lives Matter Tucson. She believes in black joy and liberation and is committed to cultivating both here in the Southwest.
Thank You to Our Partners
Staff positions with the Tucson Bail Fund are currently funded by Borealis Philanthropy’s Spark Justice Fund and the Community Justice Exchange.
Although violent crime is at historic lows, Arizona still has the 5th highest incarceration rate in the U.S. and the highest of all western states.
TBF is founded for the people, funded by the people, and we remain eternally grateful for our community who continue to support our work and vision for a #FreeTucson!
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