In court systems across the country, the term used to show that someone has done their time of incarceration is called “Time Served.” At De-Bug, we transform that term, and that time, to “time saved” through family and community organizing to change the outcome of cases. We quantify the amount of “Time Saved” by looking at the maximum exposure of incarceration based on the charges against an individual when they first approach us and subtract the total amount of incarceration time received by that individual after the family has intervened in the case through our organizing model. Sometimes charges get beat completely, some times charges get reduced, sometimes sentences get lowered as a result of the work.
As of June 2013, after four years of working with families, we have 1,377 years and 9 months of “time saved.” That is time spent within the community rather than being incarcerated, as a result of family and community intervention in the court system.
For purpose of the quantification — we have equated “life sentences” to 70 years — the average life span of an average American male. We have also equated deportations that have been beat through our model to that life term equation.