Equal Justice Under Law

Fighting Abusive Privatization


In 2015, Equal Justice Under Law went on a six-month investigation — initially led with a team of Harvard Law School Students on Spring Break — and exposed rampant corruption, racketeering, and constitutional violations pervading the Rutherford County probation system.

The Rutherford County Sheriff was questioning the county's private, for-profit probation system. Sheriff Robert Arnold said his jail was dangerously overcrowded and he pointed to the large number of non-violent, misdemeanor probation violators kept behind bars as the main reason for the overcrowding.

On December 17, 2015, the court issued a landmark preliminary injunction ruling protecting thousands of additional misdemeanor probationers, ordering the release of those illegally jailed, and preventing the company and the county from illegally keeping impoverished misdemeanor probationers in jail solely because of their inability to pay.

Sleeping with your head next to the toilet, to me, that’s just not right, but it’s the conditions we have right now. I don’t have any other choices.
— Murfreesboro Sheriff, Robert Arnold