Youâ€™ve been arrested. You could bail out, but you have no money to do so and no one to ask. A new app called Help Bond Me lets you crowdfund for bail money and provides other services.
Founder and CEO Ben McFarlin refers to Help Bond Me as â€œthe crowdfunding platform for pre-trial detainees.â€
He notes that the United States incarcerates its citizens at a greater percentage rate than any other country in the world. â€œWe are the best at the arrest,â€ is how McFarlin views Americaâ€™s judicial system, in an audio clip on his companyâ€™s website.
Thirty-five thousand people every other second are arrested. Over 60% of those arrested are unable to post bail because they donâ€™t have the funds. They can sometimes languish in jail for more than 90 days. There is also a correlation between how long someone who’s been arrested spends in jail and their likelihood of conviction, says McFarlin.
Some other sobering statistics: Over 50% of all detainee suicides happen within the first 14 days of custody; 23% of those suicides happen within the first 24 hours.
Help Bond Me allows a detainee to crowdfund bail money. Friends and family can pledge any amounts from $10 to $100. Once the total amount of bail is raised, a pledge becomes a contribution.
If someone arrested qualifies for bond, a lower amount of money (normally 10% of bail) is required. Help Bond Me works with local bail bonding companies to ensure a timely release from jail.
McFarlinâ€™s company also offers a free service called Safety Circle. This alerts your designated contacts if you are arrested. Contacts will see your arrest location on a map in the alert. They can then use Help Bond Me to get you out of jail.
You can sign up for the Help Bond Me service via its website. You can log in using Facebook, Twitter, or Digits.