Imagine doing something dumb but relatively harmless in your youth.

Maybe stealing a T-shirt or smoking marijuana with a friend.

Instead of a reprimand and a way to make things right, you're thrown into jail at 15 years old to await your trial. Maybe if you're from a lower socioeconomic family in a larger city like New York or Los Angeles — where bail can run $2,000-$5,000 or more — neither you nor any close family members can afford to make bail.

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This week, more than 30 black women from across the country will receive the best Mother's Day gift of all: freedom.

They are among the more than half a million people (20% of the U.S. prison population) currently sitting in jail cells who have not been convicted of a crime, largely due to their inability to make bail. Some of these people are left to languish behind bars for days, weeks, months, and even years simply because they're poor.

Black women make up 44% of the female jail population though they are only 13% of the U.S. female population. Mass incarceration is devastating regardless of gender, but women are more likely to be primary caregivers, so many of these locked cells represent families torn apart.

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