For trying to play peacemaker, Jojuan Powell went to jail. Authorities didn’t believe her claim that she was trying to break up a fight outside her Mantua home last May. So after a teen emerged from the brawl with a broken arm, Powell, 28, found herself behind bars on felony assault charges – wondering how she’d ever afford the $2,501 bail a judge set as her price for freedom.
When Romeeka Williams was charged with driving under the influence about a year and a half ago, the steep bail — $50,000 – was far beyond her means. So, the North Philadelphia mother of two spent three weeks in jail, and her children, ages 1 and 3 at the time, were left with her grandmother.