Tidewater Solidarity Bail Fund is an abolitionist community bail fund committed to pretrial liberty and material support for those who can't afford cash bail.
We operate in the seven cities of Hampton Roads, Virginia:
Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Hampton, and Newport News
Call Tidewater Solidarity Bail Fund (TSBF) to request bail. Family members, attorneys, or the person incarcerated can call us to request bail. Anyone in Hampton Roads is eligible.
Be Added to the Bail-out List
Once the intake call is completed and it is verified the only thing preventing release is bail, the person will be added to our bail-out list. We prioritize Black, Brown, LGBTQ+, and disabled folks.
Bail-out and Transportation
We go to the jail, pay their bail, and coordinate rides with their personal network. If they do not have a ride, we will offer one.
Bail is Returned to TSBF
We will send out reminders and coordinate transportation for their court date. Once they show up to court, money is refunded to TSBF and it is available for another community member's bail.
In order to maintain full transparency and trust, we collect and report data on our bail-out efforts. In 2020, the following financial and qualitative statistics reflect the true results of people power, solidarity, and community support!
People freed from their pre-trial detention.
Dollars posted in cash bail across five cities in Hampton Roads.
Dollars distributed directly to people for food, transportation, rent/utilities, medical, etc.
Months that our comrades would have collectively spent in jail had they not been bailed out (based on national pre-covid average 6 month waiting time).
Do i have to pay you back for bail?
Nope. We post bail for everybody, for free, no questions asked. If possible, we will do our best to help you get to your court date; if you make it to your court date, we'll get the money that we posted for you back from the court. If not, we won't. All the money we get back from court dates will go to posting bail for the next person - that's what makes it a rotating, community-based fund.
Do you only post bail for political arrests?
Nope. We oppose cash bail for political reasons, but we post bail for everybody - 'political' charges or not. We prioritize people based on the following risk levels: 1) Whether they are BIPOC (Black + Indigenous People of Color), 2) Whether they are trans, 3) Whether they have any medical conditions or are on any medications that they don't have access to in jail, and 4) When their court date is. If we have a shortage of funds, we will post bail for people with more risk levels than others first.
Abolitionist bail fund? Do you mean Literally abolish the police?
Yes, we mean literally abolish the police. And prisons! The mutual aid work we do posting bail for the community is a strategic step in undermining the state's carceral profit margins, towards the ultimate goal of abolishing cash bail. We work towards the abolition of not only cash bail, but the entire prison industrial complex, and work imaginatively towards alternative systems of collective care and safety. It is because of our abolitionist belief that no one deserves or benefits from incarceration that we do not impose restrictions or qualifications on those we post bail for. If you are interested in learning more about abolitionism, we recommend Critical Resistance and Angela Y. Davis's Are Prisons Obsolete?
Tidewater Solidarity Bail Fund is entirely dependent on donations to bail out community members. We are an all-volunteer group that distributes 100% of all donations to cash bail and financially supporting our formerly incarcerated comrades. We operate on the framework of solidarity, not charity.
That means we understand that we're all we've got. Our fate and liberation is bound up with each other, and we enter into serious, joyful, practicable reciprocity with our community by facing down the worst that the carceral state has to offer together. We don't want to perpetuate the false binary of 'philanthropists' and 'the needy.' We seek to build community-based and community-governed infrastructure to protect ourselves and each other from the abuse of prisons and police.