When a mother’s son was picked up for a serious offense, she did what many parents do — she cleaned out her bank account to hire a private attorney. The attorney spoke confidently at first, giving the impression that the young man would be in good hands if they hired this attorney. The communication slowed to a near stop after the money was paid. The mother asked for an accounting of what work the attorney did for all of the money she was paid. The itemization included time used to read text messages and send text messages to the mother. Since the attorney charged $350 an hour, the attorney charged the family $385 for 8 text messages. We won’t even tell you how much she charged to listen to voicemails!
De-Bug and ACJP was profiled on KQED’s Forum show last Friday as part of their series on Bay Area leader and innovators. Raj was allowed to share the story of De-Bug, why families are the untapped resource in the criminal justice reform movement, and a new innovation that is changing sentence mitigation called “social biography videos.” Click the image to listen!
Armed with letters from the community, Mary heads out to Modesto for a final meeting with the attorney of her brother. He is serving a life sentence, and has been inside for 18 years already. With the passage of Proposition 36, he now has the possibility of being re-sentenced, which would lead to his release. Mary started coming to De-Bug and advocating for her brother well before the 3 Strikes Reform. Some attorneys told her his release was unlikely. But then again, most did not expect her to get this far. Next week, Mary, her family, and De-Bug will be caravaning to the his court date, to hopefully witness the start of a re-unification of this family. (See the photo of Mary from the beginning of the year, when her and her mother first learned that her brother may be on the list of potential re-sentences.)
This video, produced by De-Bug youth videographer Daniel Zapien, was made as part of a larger project ACJP/De-Bug did in collaboration with New America Media and the Open Society Foundation called, “Children of Re-Entry.” This piece chronicles the story of Greg Hughes Senior as he navigates his re-entry from prison, with the support of his son. Let us know your re-entry story! (Click image to view video.)
“I Want To Be Like Him When I Grow Up”