Bail Clinic

Do you owe money to a private bail bonds company? Click here to see if we can help.

Why Bail Advocacy?

The Bail Clinic at Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area is fighting for the rights of Californians who have used for-profit bail bonds companies’ services to get themselves or a loved one out of jail. People who use bail services are often saddled with thousands of dollars in bail debt. Often, they owe money even though they are never charged or convicted of a crime.

Like payday lenders, the bail industry makes its money on the backs of low-income communities who cannot afford other options. Bail companies then aggressively pursue these debts. ​Over half of Californians in jail are detained simply because they cannot afford to pay bail. Most who do post bail in California are forced to do so thorugh a bail bonds company — and are charged high fees for this service. The result is a litany of predatory industry practices, including deceptive advertising, inequitable contracts, and unfair attempts to collect debt.

How We Work

Our clinics match clients with bail bonds issues with pro bono advocates. For families struggling to make ends meet, this advocacy has helped families struggling with bail bonds debt, so that they can be free from this burden.

To request legal help, click here and fill out the form.

To get involved, or get more information, email


To find out if we might be able to help you, and to get scheduled for our upcoming clinic, please fill out our form here.

Read More About Bail

California Department of Insurance page on bail bond business


“Not in it for Justice”: How California’s Pretrial Detention and Bail System Unfairly Punishes Poor People (Human Rights Watch, 2017)

The Devil in the Details: Bail Bond Contracts in California (UCLA, 2017)

Consumer Protection for Criminal Defendants: Regulating Commercial Bail in California (California Law Review, 2018)

Read More About Debt Collection and Consumer Rights

Attorney General’s Website with information about rights in debt collection:

The CFPB website page where people can access the “Your Money Your Goals” handbook