Press Release: Nashville and Davidson County Tennessee Take First Steps to Reform Money Bail

Specifically, the complaint alleges that the Twentieth Judicial District’s practice of requiring defendants to post secured money bail as a pretrial condition of release had a discriminatory effect on African Americans because they are disproportionately detained in jail prior to trial.

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Trapped: How Fee-Based GPS Monitoring Puts a ‘Price Tag on Freedom’

An Op-Ed by Equal Justice Under Law Executive Director, Phil Telfeyan. William Edwards was giving a lift to a friend in Oakland, Ca., in November 2016 when he was stopped by police. After searching his car without a warrant, the officers found drugs in the friend’s bag.

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Lawsuit Alleges Ankle Monitoring Practices Are Akin to Extortion

A new class-action lawsuit accuses Alameda County of allowing a private company to charge excessive fees to people sentenced to electronic monitoring, telling them to pay up or go to jail. James Brooks left his job at the Port of Oakland after his mother was paralyzed by a catastrophic stroke in 2012. The 49-year-old former longshoreman is now her full-time caregiver, earning about minimum wage from the state's In-Home Supportive Services program.

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Lawsuit Confronts Extortion of Prisoners by Electronic Monitoring Firm

Robert Jackson was four days into a 120-day sentence in an Alameda County, California, jail when his wife passed away unexpectedly, leaving their three young children without a parent in the home. He was compassionately released with the caveat that he submit to electronic monitoring by the for-profit Leaders in Community Alternatives (LCA) company. Though his weekly paycheck was $400-$500, his weekly monitoring fees to LCA came to $250 per week — 50-65 percent of his total income.

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chrysse haynes
Press Release: Alameda County Allows Racketeering at the Expense of the Poor

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Today Equal Justice Under Law filed a federal class action lawsuit in the Northern District of California against Alameda County for allowing a private company, Leaders in Community Alternatives (LCA), to extort money from poor Californians and about the predatory practices LCA inflicts through the use of GPS tracking devices.

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Join Us for a Civil Rights Roundtable at Berkeley Law

This forum, held August 1st from 2:30 pm to 5 pm at Berkeley Law located at the University of California, will explore the class dynamics of electronic monitoring - deconstructing the idea that electronic monitoring is a pleasant alternative to incarceration; the exploitation that has come from the privatization of the criminal justice system; how local governments allow private companies to place profits before people; how it is being handled during the Trump presidency and concrete ways criminal justice can be enhanced today and for tomorrow.

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Press Release: City of Newark Arkansas Banishes Residents Who Are Poor

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.

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S.F. Ordinance Targets Fees Faced by Poor Defendants

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.

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Petty Charges, Princely Profits

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.

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Shackled: Refugees are Being Jailed at the Ankle

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.

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Olivia Thompson
Shackled: The Realities of Home Imprisonment

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.

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Olivia Thompson
Alice Marie Johnson is Commuted

In our line of work, we don't get good news too often so we love to celebrate victories when they happen.

This one is special: President Trump pardoned Alice Marie Johnson, who served 21 years of a life sentence without parole for a single non-violent drug offense.

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How 7 Million People have been Penalized for being Poor

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.

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John Legend and Rashad Robinson: End money bail now

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.

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