We’re fighting a racist, predatory system; and we’re winning: a look at the numbers - Advancement Project - Advancement Project

We’re fighting a racist, predatory system; and we’re winning: a look at the numbers

Cash bail in St. Louis is unconstitutional

 

Did you know St. Louis jails Black people eight times more than white people in a city that is only 47 percent Black? The average bail is $25,000 in a city where the median income is $25,000. People in the medium security Workhouse jail, who have not been convicted of a crime and are presumptively innocent, sit for an average of 291 days before their case is resolved, mostly because they cannot afford their bail.

But this is changing, with your support!

Advancement Project National Office is proud to fight alongside organizers from the Close the Workhouse campaign against a horribly racist and predatory legal system that obviously doesn’t care about poor people and Black people. This campaign seeks to end wealth-based pretrial detention, close a notoriously inhumane local jail, and reinvest those funds in the communities most impacted by mass incarceration.

In January 2019, we, along with co-counsel from ArchCity Defenders, Civil Rights Corps, and Georgetown Law, sued the City of St. Louis. And the warden. Also the sheriff. And the judges, too. We sued on the grounds that these players practiced an unconstitutional use of unaffordable cash bail in St. Louis.

This month, the federal court issued its order on our motion for preliminary injunction, telling the warden he could no longer hold people on detention orders that didn’t meet the constitution. St. Louis court officials, feeling the heat from the litigation and the campaign, held a massive number of hearings – hearings they should have held months ago but did not until the court forced their hand. Take a look to see how things have changed.

Though we haven’t yet closed the jail, we continue to work with the Close the Workhouse campaign and are making impactful strides with our litigation. Our lawsuit against the City of St. Louis has had a genuine, material impact on people’s lives. People are going home. They are being reunited with their families, getting back to work, and trying to find housing and support. Most importantly, they are free. After being caged for months in horrible conditions because of their poverty, they are getting back a sense of dignity and freedom.

In Advancement Project’s true spirit of movement lawyering, movement building and true grassroots partners, our Justice Project team members have been in the trenches supporting the campaign for the month of June alongside the Close the Workhouse team. We knocked on doors to get out the word about the campaign. We trained residents on court watching to hold the judges accountable. We helped develop campaign strategy and leveraged volunteers to support people being released from jail. We coordinated a press conference featuring Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s who, on the steps of St. Louis’s City Hall called on white people to join the fight. We worked with Ben & Jerry’s CEO to publish his op-ed which called for the Workhouse to be closed. We helped shape Ben & Jerry’s full-page ad in the City’s major newspaper and Black publication to alert residents on the need to Close the Workhouse.

Though there’s more work to be done, we are ecstatic to continue to provide support and resources to our partners to make a strong impact with grassroots campaigns like this around the country in the name of racial justice. With your support, we can continue this work. Not only can we reimagine justice – we can make racial justice a reality.

KEEP READING

Advancement Project Calls on America to Move Beyond Police and Prisons: “We Can’t Reform This System”

A year after George Floyd’s murder, Advancement Project National Office reflects on how to build a #FreeandSafe society for all people of color.

Read More
The Best Mother’s Day Gift is Freedom

By Ashley Carter, Justice Project Program Deputy Director and Senior Staff Attorney Photo credit: Cyndi Elledge // Photos are a part of the #FreeBlackWomxn series. Visit www.freeblackwomxn.org. Thousands of women with children across the United States will spend this Mother’s Day behind bars. The crisis of mass incarceration has fueled a family separation endemic: more than 150,000 children have a parent who is in jail simply because they are too poor to afford their court-imposed cash bail. This year we are working to support the 2021 Black Mama’s Day Bailout organized and led by our community partners…

Read More
Black Mama Bailout: #FreeBlackWomxn

Michigan Liberation and the Advancement Project National Office have launched the #FreeBlackWomxn campaign, a photo and storytelling project that elevates the voices of Black Michigan mothers who have experienced incarceration. We are honored that Kimberly, Machelle, Geneva, Darnita, Dominica, Irene, and Tamika shared their stories with us. Click each woman’s photo below to read their experience with incarceration.

Read More
Photo of the back of a police officer
More Cop Convictions Won’t Stop Racist Police Violence

By Thomas B. Harvey, Justice Project Program Director Last week, as people across America waited for a verdict in Derek Chauvin’s trial, police in Ohio murdered a 16-year-old girl, Ma’Khia Bryant. As Chauvin was found guilty on three counts for murdering George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ma’Khia Bryant lay dead in the street in Columbus. Credit: Fred Moon While we should hope that Chauvin’s conviction brings some peace and healing to George Floyd’s family, friends, and the broader Minneapolis community, Ma’Khia’s murder reinforced a disturbing reality: individual convictions are irrelevant to the movement to end police violence. Cops will continue to…

Read More
Civil Rights and Racial Justice Organizations Applaud Chauvin Verdict: Accountability in the Courtroom One Step in Journey to Justice

This verdict, while unexpected in light of far too many past cases like this, does not bring George Floyd back.

Read More
Advancement Project Welcomes Chauvin Verdict, Implores America to Move Beyond Policing

Today, in response to the conviction of Derek Chauvin for second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter...

Read More
Advancement Project Statement on Murder of Adam Toledo

Today, we join Chicago in grief and outrage at the murder of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old Latino boy whose life was cruelly taken by Chicago Police. We express our deepest sympathy to Adam’s friends and family; we stand in solidarity with organizers, activists, and the broader Chicago community as they take to the street to express their despair and demand justice.

Read More
Mapping Injustice: Navigating the Criminal Legal System 101

Grassroots organizers are leading the fight to dismantle the incarceration state. In its current form, the criminal legal system criminalizes and incarcerates people of color in the name of “law and order.” In 2021, Advancement Project National Office, along with Michigan Liberation, Close the Workhouse, Neighborhood Defender Service Detroit, Detroit Justice Center, and East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition (EBRPPRC), partnered to present a forum series on the various phases of a criminal case: Policing, Arrest, and Pretrial Trial, Sentencing, and Plea Negotiations Incarceration and Re-Entry During each session, organizers and lawyers mapped the…

Read More
Advancement Project Statement on Daunte Wright’s Murder, Police Claims of Accidental Discharge

“We are heartbroken and outraged at the murder of Daunte Wright. We stand in solidarity with Daunte’s family and the Black and Brown Minnesotans who are sharing their grief, outrage, and disgust after police have taken the life of another Black man in their state.

Read More
Civil Rights, Racial Justice Organizations Applaud Biden’s Executive Order Aimed at Facilitating Voter Registration, Urges Robust Implementation and Tracking

Media Contact: Elana Needle Email: [email protected] The Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative—the foremost diverse coalition of national racial justice and civil rights organizations representing and serving more than 53 million people in the United States—applauds President Joseph R. Biden’s recent executive action to make it easier for Americans to register to vote. Signed on the 56th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the new Biden executive order requiring federal agencies to submit plans to help facilitate voter registration invokes the legacy of the 600 activists, including the late Congressman John Lewis, who were attacked by law enforcement as they attempted to…

Read More