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My experience, even to this day I still have tears in my eyes when I think about it because I was taken away from my family, I was taken away from my job, and I lost my car. That job was my, I guess my serenity so it’s hard. My name is Leticia. I’m 54 years old. Something interesting about me is that I think I’m a people person. I love to talk. I lived here in Baton Rouge all my life. What do I like about Baton Rouge – that’s a toughie. Crawfish. I like the crawfish in Baton Rouge, and the red beans. That’s my favorite. That’s the thing I love about Baton Rouge.

A typical day to me is I’m gonna work to keep myself busy and that’s basically what I did. Things changed a lot after I was arrested because, phew, getting locked up in that jail cell was like, horrible. I never thought you could get treated so bad it’s, and I was sick at the same time and you telling the people then, you get handcuffs on you so tight that your hands blow up and they not doing anything about it. You tell them look, I know you need to go to the bathroom. They wouldn’t to take me to the bathroom. I actually literally had to pee on the floor because I couldn’t hold it. And I told them I had a, um, weak bladder. It’s like, “We don’t care” and they just cuss you out just for no reason. Nobody had masks on. Unless they took you to the back and that was it um, like if you didn’t bring a mask out you didn’t really get a mask so. It was the worst experience ever.

Them two days was the worst ever. For two days straight I asked to see a nurse and it was the night before I got out that they actually let me see a nurse, and realized that my sugar was sky high. Cause they wouldn’t let me get no medicine and when I first got there they’re gonna say um, “Just take her to um, put her in the psych ward because she’s suicidal.” Well like how I’m suicidal because I’m telling y’all how I feel? I said y’all just took everything from me when y’all locked me up for no reason. Y’all came and arrest me at my job, and I told you I was there by myself y’all didn’t care. Y’all just deliberately going to put handcuffs on me in front of my consumers, cause I work at a group home. I lost my job. It’s just stuff was just, I just stayed depressed, I’m kinda still because I’m going like, I’m 54 years old and this never happened to me.

Then you go to jail and you get treated so badly, I’m going like, what is wrong with our system? I believe in fairness and justice. I really believed in justice but unfortunately we’re not getting justice like we should. Cause you can see somebody kill somebody that’s rich and they getting off, but somebody poor they don’t, they even though, everybody need their justice too, but you know, everybody should be able to bond out. Or sometimes like something that’s simple what happened to me. Why should I go to jail? Give me a summons or something, you know? The Bail Project, how I was working with y’all, it was awesome because if it wasn’t for y’all I’d probably still be in there. And my mom, my mom and them don’t have that kind of money. Cause they tried to help me, and I’m going like, I know all of them love me but if they ain’t got it they just ain’t got it. And if it wasn’t for y’all helping me I – I don’t know where I’d be right now to be honest I really don’t. And if it wasn’t for y’all I don’t where I would be, I really don’t. My life in Louisiana, haven’t got any better that’s why I hope for the 2021. 

Letitia is well-versed on the inequities that exist within our criminal justice system. It wasn’t until she was incarcerated at East Baton Rouge Parish Prison and unable to post a $5,000 bond, however, that she learned just how deeply troubling and harmful the pretrial and cash bail system was. Letitia struggles with diabetes and muscle spasms. In this video, she shares what it’s like to be denied medication in jail and the toll it took on her life.

Thank you for engaging with our content. People like you make a better world possible – a world where justice is not determined by someone’s wealth. The Bail Project is not only an immediate lifeline for people held on unaffordable cash bail, but a growing megaphone for public education and social change. If you have the means and found value in our content, please consider becoming a donor today.

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Director of Creative and Marketing

Shannon Soper

As the Director of Creative and Marketing, Soper oversees all aspects of The Bail Project’s marketing strategy and content development and is responsible for accelerating systems change through brand recognition and public education nationwide. Since joining the organization in 2018, she has driven web, video, and social media innovation, cultivating an in-house creative team and establishing the Creative and Marketing Department. Soper has over a decade of leadership in nonprofit strategic communications, having served as Communications Director at Dignity and Power Now and as College Campaigns Strategist for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). A champion for expanding access to digital assets for activists and movements, Soper founded her own company in 2016 to provide subsidized web development and creative multimedia to disadvantaged organizations. She began her advocacy career leading teams on the ground, furthering public awareness on large scale concert tours and creating institutional change at over 100 colleges and universities nationwide. Her public speaking, writing, photography, video, and web features have been featured by a wide range of outlets, including USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, and NPR.