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  • Writer's pictureMario Nicolais

Colorado locks up those too poor to afford even $10 bail. That could change in 2019.

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

You’re not alone if you don’t know much about Elisabeth Epps. But if you happen to be in jail and too poor to pay bail, Epps might be the difference between months behind bars and freedom.

Epps runs the Colorado Freedom Fund. She is the living embodiment of the social justice movement in Denver. When she isn’t working to end the practice of money bail across the state, she is either raising funds or driving to a local jail with a check in hand. Since she began last spring, she has helped more than 150 people avoid incarceration due to indigence.

I’m not talking about hefty sums. Under its own guidelines, the Colorado Freedom Fund does not accept cases where bail exceeds $500 unless friends and family provide the difference. It definitely does not work with bail bond companies whom Epps sees as profiteers from human suffering. The people Epps helps usually get locked up so poor that any bail, even as little as $10, becomes a jail sentence.

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