Two community bail fund apps – Appolition and Bail Bloc – were recently launched to help individuals who are experiencing difficulty making bail.
The first program, Appolition, is funded by credit cards when users round up purchases to the nearest dollar and donate the extra money.
"I was inspired to see collective crowdfunding for black folks and wondered how to create a technical platform that does the same thing," Appolition creator, Kortney Ziegler, said referencing a recent crowdfunding campaign which helped to bail incarcerated mothers for Mother's Day.
The programmer added that the Appolition app got out of the blocks positively, receiving 140 signups within the first six hours of its launch.
The second app, Bail Bloc, mines a cryptocurrency called Monero from spare computer power, then converts it into cash which is then donated to the Bronx Freedom Fund.
Bail Bloc organizer and The New Inquiry editor, Maya Binyam, explained to Vice, “We're a publishing platform created by and for communities that have been historically targeted by the state, which means that our access to capital is limited, as is true for most millennials. What we do have access to, however, is computing power. And so on a practical level, fundraising through mining makes sense.”
While Appolition is a straightforward way to donate, Bail Bloc requires running an app in the background of your computer, which will eventually generate between about $3 and $5 monthly. According to statistics, approximately 400 people were running Bail Bloc on its second day.
"With enough downloads over time, the compounding revenue generated from Bail Bloc has the potential to help secure the release of tens of thousands of low-income people from pre-trial incarceration, which would diminish the widespread function of cash bail to coerce guilty pleas, restoring the presumption of innocence and allowing people to wait for their day in court at liberty," details of the project stated.
Community bail funds exist in several cities and states across the United States, including Chicago, Massachusetts and New York.
About 450,000 people are being held in pretrial incarceration across the country, some of whom are unable to make bail, according to The New York Times.