JOIN US AND OUR PARTNERS SONG AND SOUTHERN CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS TO AMEDN THE "PRE-TRIAL FREEDOM ACT"
Last week the Fulton County Board of Commissioners passed a law which claims to reform the use of cash bail. But the law doesn’t really change the way the county uses cash bail at all. This means that people will still be in jail just because they can’t afford to pay their way out. We need to mobilize to encourage the commission to end cash bail before the law becomes effective on November 1st.
Bail reform on the city level was one of the key policy victories that helped reduce the population inside the extra city jail and move us down the path to our ultimate goals: to close the jail and repurpose the facility into something our communities actually need, reallocating the money to community-based services like mental healthcare, jobs, housing, and other social services to keep our communities safe.
Bail reform on the county level is essential to ensure that closing the city jail doesn’t merely lead to overcrowding of the county jail. We need to end cash bail on all levels and change the culture of policing in Atlanta to end the criminalization of our communities.
You can see a summary of the bill from Southern Center for Human Rights here.
Please take the four actions below and share this email to your networks!
1. CALL COMMISSIONERS
Chairman Robb Pitts (sponsor) 404-612-8200
Commissioner Liz Hausmann (absent) 404-612-8213
Vice Chairman Bob Ellis (voted YES) 404-612-8216
Commissioner Lee Morris (abstained) 404-612-9800
Commissioner Natalie Hall (voted YES) 404-612-8227
Commissioner Marvin Arrington (voted YES) 404-613-0200
Commissioner Emma Darnell (voted YES) 404-612-8222
Here is a suggested script, though you should say what feels most comfortable:
“Hi, my name is [Name] [if you live in Fulton, add “and I live in Fulton County.”] I’m calling to urge you to amend ordinance 18-0695 to truly end cash bail. Cash bail is a classist policy which forces people to stay in jail solely because they cannot pay their way out. Even though we thought the recent ordinance would address that and bring about positive change – it did not do much to actually change unfair bail practices. The Commission should take this matter seriously and amend this ordinance to truly eliminate cash bail. Thank you for your time.”
2. EMAIL COMMISSIONERS
Chairman Rob Pitts firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Liz Hausmann email@example.com
Commissioner Bob Ellis firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Lee Morris email@example.com
Commissioner Natalie Hall firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Marvin Arrington Marvin.Arrington@fultoncountyga.gov
Commissioner Emma Darnell email@example.com
Here is a suggested email but write what feels most comfortable:
Dear Fulton County Commissioner NAME:
I have major concerns about ordinance 18-0695, the so-called “Pre-Trial Freedom Act,” that the Fulton County Commission passed on October 3rd 2018. Cash bail is a classist policy in Fulton County which forces people to stay in jail solely because they cannot pay their way out. When you passed 18-0695, I want to believe that you were trying to solve this problem and end cash bail but the ordinance does not fix the problem and might have actually made things worse.
The Fulton County Board of Commissioners can and should amend this ordinance to truly eliminate cash bail.
Here are some of the major problems with the law that was passed on October 3rd:
Cash bail remains intact so people who have not been convicted of a crime can still be jailed just because they can’t pay for their freedom.
People who can’t pay bail can remain in jail for up to 30 days before a court must reconsider the bail amount.
The ordinance is unconstitutional because it allows magistrate courts to impose onerous bail amounts.
There are no opportunities to support people so that they can make their court dates and not go back to jail.
The county said it is committed to the health, safety, and general welfare of Fulton County, but did not require an extensive study of the needs of those being incarcerated and their families.
I urge the Board of Commissioners to amend ordinance 18-0695. Our county’s most vulnerable communities and individuals deserve more from you. I am happy to discuss my concerns further before the law takes effect on November 1st 2018. Fulton County Deserves Bail Reform.
3. POST TO SOCIAL MEDIA
#FultonCommissioners: @RobPitts, @CommDarnell @FulcoD4, @BobEllisFulton, @LizHausmann, @marvinarrington & @CommLeeMorris make bail reform real in #FultonCounty and amend Ordinance 18-0695 on October 17th. #notquitefreedom #endcashbail
4. COME TO THE NEXT COMMISSION MEETING ON OCTOBER 17TH at 10AM AND TELL THE COMMISSION THAT THE PEOPLE WANT A REAL END TO CASH BAIL IN FULTON COUNTY The next commission meeting is October 17th at 10:00am in the Assembly Hall of the Fulton County Government Center 141 Pryor Street, S.W. Atlanta, GA, 30303. Advocates in support of ending cash bail will meet outside the Assembly Hall at 9:30am.