KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A local man is helping people accused of non-violent offenses get back to their families.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is about service, so Matt Rice, who owns an art gallery in downtown KC, wanted to give back. So far, Rice has bailed out two people who were waiting for trial on non-violent offenses.
One person he bailed out, named Jerome, is now getting his commercial driver’s license. He is also back home with his family.
According to Data for Progress, about 60% of people in jail are waiting for trial, meaning they have not been convicted of a crime.
If a person can afford to pay their bail, they get out. If not, they stay in jail. It’s a system that makes poor people suffer more than the wealthy and also disproportionately impacts Black and brown families.
“While they’re incarcerated, they can’t work. They can’t see their kids. They can’t see their family,” Rice said. “So it really doesn’t do anybody any good to have them incarcerated pretrial.”
When you post bail for someone and they show up to court, your money is returned. Rice has bailed out two people, but he’s committed to spending at least $10,000.
“I think a lot of people are in a position to do this. It’s one thing to put a sign up in your yard, post something on your Facebook. But doing something like this doesn’t actually cost you a whole lot of money in the end, and it does a whole lot more good,” he said.
Rice has been working with the KC Community Bail Fund to find people who are in need.