When it comes to incarceration, being able to be granted bail and then to come up with the bail money are two of main components that keep people locked up.
According to National Bail Out, on a daily basis, 700,000 people are behind bars simply because they cannot afford bail. But social engineer Kortney Ziegler wants to change the way people make bail by getting others to donate with his newly created bail crowdsourcing app, Appolition.
Ziegler, along with his co-founder Tiffany Mikell, created the app after tweeting about the idea earlier this summer.
“I was inspired by the work of National Bail Out and their work in bringing together black-led community bail funds to provide relief for black folks who needed support,” Ziegler tells The Root.
The app simply works by connecting to your bank account, and then each purchase made through it is rounded up to the nearest dollar and donated automatically each time you reach at least 50 cents in spare change. The app, which was launched just two weeks ago, is now responsible for bailing out eight individuals in less than three weeks.
“Based on this traction, we estimate to offer bail for at least 16 individuals per month, but that could double if we keep growing at the rate we are—which is acquiring hundreds of users per day,” Ziegler says.
Going viral has definitely helped the app’s launch, and Ziegler says that “people ... across social media platforms are chiming in and signing up for the platform.”
When it comes to crowdsourcing, we’ve definitely seen it all, from people asking for everything from vacation money to medical-bill help on sites like GoFundMe. But if there’s any cause out there that’s important, it’s definitely the ability to help people, especially black people, who are sitting behind bars because of exorbitant bail amounts.
When asked what he hopes for the future of bail reform and mass incarceration in the United States, Ziegler has his eyes on the bigger picture.
“I hope the concept of money bail is completed abolished—as are prisons themselves,” Ziegler says.
Visit Appolition to sign up and make your spare change count.