Hey, what are you getting your mom for Mother’s Day? A card? Flowers? A few of her favorite Ben & Jerry’s pints? Being a mom is hard work, so whatever your plans are this May 12, make sure you make your mom feel special.
Of course, some mothers won’t be able to celebrate this day with their kids. Did you know that 80% of the more than 2.8 million women jailed each year in the US are mothers? (Overall, the rate of imprisonment for women has grown twice as fast as it has for men since 1980.) Prison has a huge impact on families, and no one suffers more from that separation than kids.
That’s why we love what our partner, Color of Change, is doing as part of the National Bail Out Collective (NBO) on Mother’s Day. They’re bailing mothers out. Because families deserve to be together—on Mother’s Day, and every day.
Keep Families Together
America’s money bail system seemingly works just fine if you’re wealthy, but people who can’t afford to pay bail can wind up behind bars indefinitely, for weeks, months, or even years. Hundreds of thousands of people who haven’t been convicted of anything are in jail right now only because they don’t have money for bail, and many of them have kids at home waiting for them.
There are about 2.7 million kids in the US with a parent behind bars—1 in 28 children overall, with two-thirds of those parents incarcerated for nonviolent offenses. Children of color are disproportionately affected: 1 in 9 Black children 9 (11.4%), versus 1 in 57 white children (1.8%) have a parent in jail.
Studies show that kids with an incarcerated parent are more likely to suffer from a whole slew of health problems, like PTSD, depression, and asthma. They’re also more likely to experience poverty and to struggle at school. All of this puts their future at risk.
Transforming the System
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Since 2017, the National Bail Out Collective has gotten hundreds of mothers out of jail on Mother’s Day so that they can be right where they belong—at home, with their kids. But really, that’s only the beginning. The NBO also provides support services, fellowships, and employment opportunities to those they bail out.
Of course, what we really need is systemic change. We stand with Color of Change and the NBO in recognizing that money bail is just one broken part of a broken system—it’s time to take the money flowing into the prison system and use it to invest in communities and people instead.
So, this Mother’s Day, as we celebrate the women who take care of us and support us, let’s think of those mothers who want to do the same for their kids, but can’t. Support the NBO. Help make sure that families stay together. Then join the movement to end money bail!