RICHMOND, Va. – A Richmond church helps provide financial service to citizens awaiting trial. The reality for tens of thousands of people across the country is that they have no bail money as they wait behind bars for a court date to determine guilt or innocence.
“I think people don`t think about it until it`s their family member,” said Greta Randolph.
“It could actually be anybody`s family member.”
“A simple traffic stop could happen, you get locked up and may not have a simple $200 and the court date is two months away,” she explained. “So while waiting, what happens to daily life in the process?”
“Families suffer,” she answered.
That’s why her church, St. Paul`s Baptist, provides financial assistance.
“So, in the meantime they could be productive citizens,” she said. “You want them in the community where they are not losing their homes, not losing their kids or their employment.”
Richmond Sheriff Antoinette Irving sees it firsthand. That`s why she`s partnering with St. Paul`s and ten area bail agencies.
“What we do is we find people who are eligible for bond,” Irving said.
“The charges that they have are minimal charges,” she said. “We want to make sure still that the community is safe. Don`t want to bond out anyone that may put themselves or someone else in the position of something happening.”
Randolph said for now the goal is to help moms get out for Mother`s Day and dads on Father`s Day. So far congregants have donated “bail out bucks” that will be used. Their efforts won`t end there.
“It`s not just helping them to get out of jail,”Randolph said. “If they need counseling, we have the Barnabas counseling center here. If they need employment this is how we can help them so they can go on and be productive in the community.”