Letter to the Editor: Massachusetts Bail Fund is Rooted in Social Justice

Jul 28, 2020

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Massachusetts Chapter wrote a letter in the Boston Globe in support of the Massachusetts Bail Fund. Here is a copy of the letter:

handcuffs with dollar bills on desk. close upThe cash bail system must be abolished as a discriminatory practice that disproportionately harms our Black, Latinx, and low-income neighbors. Until that goal can be realized, the Massachusetts Bail Fund must continue its important, life-saving work. Andrea Estes’s “Fund quickens pace of freeing defendants” (Page A1, July 20) paints an unfair picture of the work of the fund.

As an organization founded by social workers, a profession rooted in social justice, and committed to eliminating the cash bail system, the Massachusetts Bail Fund upholds a core tenet of our judicial system — innocent until proved guilty. Posting bail is not only legal, but it also decreases the risks of homelessness and unemployment for the accused, helps keep families together, and reduces the pressure to accept a plea bargain.

Subjecting people to incarceration while presumed innocent in the midst of the co-occurring public health emergencies of racism and COVID-19 runs counter to the rallying cries in our streets to find a different way to address public safety and a path toward racial justice. We must stand in solidarity with the Massachusetts Bail Fund and reject the distorted narrative this article supposes.

Rebekah Gewirtz
Executive director
Massachusetts chapter
National Association of Social Workers

NASW supports abolishing the cash bail system. Read the NASW Social Justice Brief, “Abolishing Cash Bail to Promote Social Justice,” to learn more. A separate Social Justice Brief, “Addressing COVID-19 and Correctional Facilities: A Social Work Imperative,” also touches on the issue of abolishing bail.