The Cambridge Homeless Court takes a different approach from most, connecting defendants with resources outside the court system. But critics say it doesn’t get to the root of the problem: “Communities are intentionally targeting the homeless by making it a crime to sleep on the street, or panhandle, or by selectively enforcing petty laws, using the criminal justice system to address the social service problem. Our preference would be simply stop criminalizing that behavior in the first place.”
“Suicide, long the leading cause of death in U.S. jails, hit a high of 50 deaths for every 100,000 inmates in 2014, the latest government data available…Many jails have been sued or investigated in recent years for allegedly refusing inmates medication to help manage mental illness, failing to properly monitor them or ignoring cries for help…
More than half the suicides or attempts occurred during the first week of being jailed, and about 80% of the inmates were awaiting trial.”
A few weeks ago, I caught up with our very first client, Mr. Thomas Gibbs. Mr. Gibbs is a retiree and grandfather who spent several days in jail without his medications because he could not afford an $800 bail.
Here’s Mr. Gibbs a year later, celebrating with me our power “to move mountains” when we come together as a community to demand justice and true freedom.
One year later, I continue to be inspired by clients like Mr. Gibbs and the overwhelming community support we have received. From our amazing partners at the Louisville Metro Public Defenders to the Louisville chapter of Showing Up For Racial Justice (LSURJ) and the Presbyterian Church (USA), there’s a strong community behind this movement in Kentucky. Together, we are paving the way for real, long-lasting change.
Freedom should truly be free. This idea is nothing new, but here, in Louisville, we are revolutionizing how we get there, together.
A federal judgeruled last week that St. Louis jails – including the infamous Workhouse where over 90% of people are detained pretrial –can’t incarcerate people simply because they can’t pay bail. The judgecited data from our St. Louis site in ruling that: “There is no evidence that financial conditions of release are more effective than alternatives for ensuring court appearance and public safety.” However, as of now, St. Louis courts are holding up new bail hearings for people entitled to them.
This piece from The Appeal looks at how “local media continues to rely on fearmongering police narratives in lieu of evidence and nuance.” Using Chicago’s CBS 2 as an example, it explores how local media outlets stoke unsubstantiated fears of threats to “public safety,” and, in the process, contribute undeserved pushback to bail reform. A necessary exploration of how the presumption of innocence is undermined not only in our courts, but also in our culture.