The Bail Project / Newsroom (Page 31)

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.”

Summarized by Jacob Koffler

“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.”

Greetings from Louisville, Kentucky. Last month, we marked one year since the launch of our Bail Project site in the Derby City and what a journey it has been!

To date, we have paid bail for over 900 Louisvillians, reuniting families, restoring the presumption of innocence, and helping our city fight mass incarceration. We’re now gearing up for our second year. We’ll be kicking things off by marching with the Presbyterian Church (USA) this week to call for bail reform.

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.

Thank you for your support,

Shameka Parrish-Wright
Louisville Site Manager

A federal judge ruled 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 judge cited 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.

Summarized by Jacob Koffler