A Texas-based civil rights group are bailing several moms out of the Bexar County jail so they can spend Mother's Day with their families, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The Texas Organizing Project is using the event to highlight what they see as an injustice in the cash bond part of the criminal justice system that they feel is slanted against low income defendants.
"If they had at least ten percent, they would have been out two weeks ago, but because they are poor, they can't get out," Mary Moreno says.
The group feels that it's unfair that low income defendants must wait in jail to see a judge while wealthy people, who can afford to bond out, are set free and can start mounting their defense. Moreno says those stuck behind bars jump to plead guilty so they can get out of jail as soon as possible.
The conviction is then stuck on their record."It's unjust to a lot of people except for those who make money off of it," she says, pointing to the myriad of bond businesses that surround the downtown county jail.
The effort is supported by Sheriff Javier Salazar, who appeared at their event to offer praise.
He tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI that, while there are always people who need to be locked up, they generally want people out of the jail. It costs taxpayers upwards of $60 a night to house a defendant who is awaiting trial, and a lack of bond he says is a factor when they deal with jail overcrowding.
The group has bailed out five moms in Houston and six in Dallas. They're hoping to do more today, but say funding is an issue.