Euphoria star Dominic Fike partnered with The Bail Project, a nonprofit organization that provides people with free bail, to raise awareness about the prison system. The artist traveled to his hometown of Naples, Florida, to help bail out people from Collier County Jail, where he was once incarcerated.
“It’s a lot less anxiety than you would think,” he said about returning to his place of incarceration. “I remember the day I was released from here. As soon as I walked out, I didn’t feel anything. It’s weird how it does that.”
A $50 fee is required to apply for a public defender in Florida. According to the organization, only 60% of bail money is returned when a client’s case closes, unlike in other states, where refunds occur in total.
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Fike partnered with The Bail Project to help people gain awareness about the workings of the prison system. He was inspired by his experience and lack of knowledge when he was incarcerated to help others.
“I felt like I was constantly trying to grab ahold of the situation,” Fike said. “Because of my lack of knowledge, I think it contributed to my incarceration.”
The artist was incarcerated for a little under a year. He had been under house arrest for assaulting a police officer in 2016, according to The Guardian. Fike failed a drug test at the time, which broke the terms of his probation and ultimately landed him in jail.
“After going through so many court dates and jumping through so many hoops, I took a plea deal. I didn’t want to fight,” he explained. “It was just like, whatever you’ll give me, as long as it’s not five years, whatever you’ll give me that will make this done. They scare you into incarceration.”
During his incarceration, Fike wrote and released Don’t Forget About Me, Demos, a six-track project that skyrocketed his career as a musician.
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“It’s affected me positively in ways,” he says of his time at Collier County Jail. “I can use it in my music and talk about it and relate to others and maybe lift others out of the despair that comes with being attached to the system. It’s kind of bittersweet. I try to bring a little awareness to friends and family, and people on the internet about how terrible this can be. I try not to make it out to be a sob story. It’s really hard, and there are real people in there, and these people have families and connections to us.”
Ultimately, Fike is using his public platform in the hopes of helping others gain more awareness about how the system works.
“If you can get a handle on it early and get a little understanding of it and maybe some help, that can prevent years and years or a lifetime of looping into this system,” he said.
Fike recently released his second studio album, Sunburn, with the lead single titled “Dancing in the Courthouse.”