The National Bail Out organization estimates that the U.S. spends $9 billion every year incarcerating people who have been convicted of no crime. Often, these people don’t have enough money to make bail, meaning they languish in jail away from their families and jobs. When you live close to the poverty line, even a few days can mean catastrophe for your personal life and finances.
And we’re not talking about just a few people here. The incarceration rate in the United States is staggering. The U.S. makes up just 5 percent of the global population, but Americans account for 21 percent of the world’s prisoners. There are 2.2 million Americans behind bars, an increase of nearly 500 percent since 1980. And while people of color make up just 30 percent of the population, they account for 60 percent of its prisoners. That stat grows even more shocking when you take into account that studies show black men receive longer jail sentences than white men for committing the same crimes.
All of that explains part of the motivation behind Appolition, a new app from Compton’s Kortney Ziegler who, along with his partner Tiffany Mikell. It’s a simple app that sends your spare change to a fund that’s used to help inmates make bail. You just connect it to your debit card and it rounds up any purchase over $2 to the nearest dollar and sends that change to the National Bail Out fund, which has helped some 200 people make bail.
Hey Twitter we are two black tech founders raising a seed round of half a million. A simple RT might introduce us to our next angel investor pic.twitter.com/18RZIo0Oyt
— King Kortney, PhD ✊🏿 (@fakerapper) September 25, 2017
You can pause and restart the service anytime but, for the most part, you can just let it work quietly in the background, collecting a few pennies here and there. You’ll probably never miss them, but it could add up to sending someone home to be with their families over Christmas.
Ziegler’s got a few companies in the works, including a nonprofit called ZaMFunds, that helps impoverished women in Livingstone, Zambia, afford secondary school. You can read more about Appolition and the rest of Ziegler’s work here.