NEWARK, ARKANSAS – On July 17th 2018, Equal Justice Under Law, a national civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C., filed a federal civil rights complaint against the City of Newark for blocking and banishing residents simply because they do not own an expensive home.
In 2015, the Newark City Council passed an Exclusion Ordinance forbidding any mobile home worth less than $25,000 (single-wide) or $35,000 (double-wide) from existing within the city limits. Failure to do so is punishable with fines up to $500 a day.
A number of fees like those faced by our plaintiffs would be wiped out under legislation that San Francisco city Board of Supervisors President London Breed plans to introduce. The ordinance, backed by Supervisor Malia Cohen, along with the city’s treasurer, public defender and district attorney, seeks to change a system that proponents say fails to deter crime while unfairly burdening poor defendants and hindering the rehabilitation of people convicted of crimes.
The Marshall Project reporter Joseph Neff obtained data offering a rare glimpse into how private companies profit from the steady march of low-level offenders into Mississippi jails. Over 18 recent months, this industry took in $43 million, with 36% of revenues generated from small bonds in a state where the average income is under $22k. Corbett Bonding, the largest company and a major focus on this story, has a troubling cozy relationship with jails and courts in the state.
Often when a person thinks about GPS ankle shackles, that person thinks about people who’ve committed deadly crime. What many people don’t know is that over 30,000 people wearing GPS ankle shackles are undocumented people. Many of those thousands are asylum seekers. That’s right, people who are fleeing persecution and who come to America as refugees now must walk around with this stigmatizing device on their ankle.
Typically release from prison is a good thing. No one wants to be holed up in a small, dirty cell with a stranger, away from family and friends. Some people, particularly innocent people, are so desperate to get out of a cell that they’ll plead guilty to charges they’re innocent of, because probation is cheaper than electronic monitoring. For others who are in no better financial predicament but who have many responsibilities or dependents who rely on them, ankle monitoring is the only alternative to incarceration.
More than 7 million people nationwide may have had their driver’s licenses suspended for failure to pay court or administrative debt, a practice that advocates say unfairly punishes the poor, a Washington Post analysis found. About 10 percent of that total involved residents of Virginia, Maryland and the District.
Dismantling the commercial bail industry is a steep hill to climb. Prosecutors, mayors, legislators and governors across the country are responding to the community-led movement for bail reform and reconsidering the role of money bail in our justice system.