Smart Justice
Bail Reform
Vonda Barrett's story

Vonda Bennett was trapped in jail for eleven months although she was legally presumed to be innocent. Vonda could not afford the bond placed on her for a drug crime. “I have 7 children. I had a business and a home. I wasn’t a flight risk,” Vonda said. Vonda believes if she would have been able to bail out pre-trial, her situation would have turned out differently.

“I would have been able to explain to my kids what was happening. I would have been able to make sure my family had proper care while I was gone. I would have been able to start working on my sobriety so I could cope better in prison,” Vonda said.

Vonda said she was unable to see her kids from the moment she was arrested to the moment she ended her five-year mandatory minimum sentence. She believes if she could have afforded her bail, she would have a better relationship with her kids today.

“I didn’t even get a chance to explain to my children about my illness of addiction to where they would understand it,” Vonda said. “These bails are too high. Families are getting ripped apart, and the devastation falls on the children.”