'The Bail Project' chooses Louisville, promising to get cash-strapped accused criminals out of jail

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- For a lot of people stuck in jail, forking out cash for bail isn't an option.

To alleviate that struggle, a Los Angeles-based non-profit called The Bail Project has chosen Louisville and will operate out of the Public Defender's Office.

"People who have gone through the arraignment process and have been appointed a public defender will then be eligible for our staff," said Thomas Harvey with The Bail Project.

It will begin paying up to $5,000 to get accused criminals, who can't afford it, out of jail while they wait for a resolution to their case.

"I think it's important for people to know that once a judge sets a bail amount, the judge has made a decision that a person can be released," Harvey said. "So there has been no determination that the person is so dangerous that they can't be let out."

Project leaders think their work and money will help with a problem plaguing jails across the country and here at Metro Corrections: overcrowding.

"There's a real need for the work here, and I think we'll be able to decrease the jail population," Harvey said.

The program, new to Louisville, is funded by private donors and big names like Richard Branson. The organization's programs in St. Louis and Tulsa are seeing success 

"We've bailed out more than 90 people in the last six weeks," Harvey said.

However, Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton isn't quite ready to call it a slam dunk for his facility just yet.

"I think if it makes a difference for one person, it's worth the effort," he said.

The Bail Project also places inmates in housing and treatment programs once they get out. It's set to be up and running by May.

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