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Angela Cooper, 502-759-2171 (voice or text)

June 26, 2023

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Bail Project Louisville today announced it will end direct bailout operations in Kentucky and transition their work to advocacy for systemic pretrial justice and pretrial detention reforms.

Over the course of five years, The Bail Project Louisville has facilitated the release of more than 4,200 individuals. Their model, which includes court reminders, transportation assistance, and referral services, led to 91% of their clients making their court appearances. As their operations transition away from direct bailouts, there are many practical lessons Kentucky judges, prosecutors, and public defenders can learn from their work.

The following statement on today’s announcement can be attributed to ACLU-KY Executive Director Amber Duke:

“The Bail Project Louisville has been an incredible partner and leading advocate for the Kentuckians who go before judges each day and face time in jail only because they lack the ability to pay bail, fines, or fees. As The Bail Project ends direct bailouts, more Kentuckians with limited resources and Black and Brown Kentuckians, presumed innocent, are now going to be held pretrial in crowded, understaffed, and dangerous facilities. The Bail Project is no longer available as a corrective to our flawed systems here in the commonwealth. Kentucky’s justice partners must act with urgency to avert a new crisis in our jails.”

The following statement can be attributed to ACLU-KY Policy Strategist Kungu Njuguna.

“The Bail Project Louisville’s work the past five years demonstrates the critical changes we can put in place now that err on the side of freedom, rather than incarceration. Law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges must come to terms with the fact that there are public safety benefits to having people remain connected to their families and jobs, rather than having them held unnecessarily. 

With the end of direct bailout operations by The Bail Project, now more than ever, it is more vital for LMPD to use its discretion to issue citations in lieu of arrest, and for prosecutors and judges to commit to increased use of releasing individuals without a bond, or on nonfinancial conditions. In those instances where a bond is set, judges must allow bail credit. 

As a member of the Jail Policy Committee, I call on my fellow committee members to immediately address the impact of the loss of direct bailouts to ensure that the jail population does not increase exponentially.”


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky is freedom's watchdog, working daily in the courts, legislature and communities to defend individual rights and personal freedoms. For additional information, visit our website at: