June 26th was the Global Day of Action to end the drug war. De-Bug’s ACJP collaborated with Global Exchange and the Drug Policy Alliance to put out a video and an accompanying poster to be displayed in San Francisco about the impact of drug policy laws that are breaking apart families. The effort was a part of an international campaign to bring attention to the fallout of the drug war. To read more go to: supportdontpunish.org
Special thanks to the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the Missouri State Public Defender’s Office for bringing out De-Bug’s ACJP team last week to share our model of social biography videos to impact the outcome of criminal cases. On the same day some of our staff were presenting the concept in Texas, other staff (Jean Melesaine and Fernando Perez) were sharing with the public defenders of Missouri. What we found deeply inspiring was the profound commitment of these defenders to the rights of the least heard of their state. Particularly given the challenges and limitations around the courts (some obstacles of which we don’t see in California) these public defenders face tremendous battles to fight for the rights of their clients. Yet they perceiver through talent and will — and are bringing loved ones home to their families. We hope to build with them in the future, and are emboldened to see such strong advocates across the country.
Steeda McGruder, the inspiring organizer and leader of Sisters That Been There, was included in the recent comprehensive New York Times multimedia report entitled, “Women Inmates Separate But Not Equal.” The piece also features our friend Piper Kerman, who besides authoring Orange is the New Black, is also a tremendous visionary in the movement to end mass incarceration. Steeda first came to De-Bug with her own vision about creating support systems for women coming home from prison three years ago. She has since made that dream into a successful program called Sisters That Been There. Check out the piece by clicking here or the image!
Thanks to the Silicon Valley Metro for the feature story entitled “Non-Violent Three-Strikers Go Free with Justice Project’s Help”! It focuses on how our “social biography video” helped free Willard Brits from a life sentence after 18 years in prison. As you will read in the piece, we teamed up with Willard’s public defender to tell the fuller story of his fatherhood, and the special relationship he had with his amazing daughter — who was also, as is often the case, the best re-entry system of all. Click here, or the photo of the print version, to read the online version of the piece on San Jose Inside. (If you are an attorney and are interested in contracting ACJP to make a “social biography video” for a client, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org)