We had a powerful meeting this Sunday at ACJP, where three families all successfully resolved their cases through mutual support. They didn’t know each other a month ago, but will be forever united in their life stories. They live in different counties, even speak different languages at home.These images are a part of ACJP‘s “Time Saved” Series, documenting the stories, and amount of time saved from incarceration, due to community intervention in court cases. Submission and Photos by Charisse Domingo.
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This smiling young father was facing a shakespearean tragedy just 8 months ago. The same day his daughter was born, he was told he was facing a life sentence. The extreme sentencing came from California’s Three Strikes Law — the sentencing scheme that is on the ballot for reform this November. ACJP organizer Gail Noble worked with the family to create a “mitigation packet” which was comprised of a biography of the young man’s social history, support letters, photos of his life, and a description of his intention if allowed to return to his family. The packet, through the attorney, was given to the court for review when determining sentencing. The life sentence went down to an 8 month county sentence — the amount of time the charge would normally hold without 3 Strikes. The defense attorney told ACJP, “That packet is the reason he is coming home.”
In this TedTalk, Equal Justice Initiative Director Bryan Stevenson talks about the racial imbalance in America’s justice system. This is no different from our own county of Santa Clara where there are many people of color locked up. Submission Post by Blanca Bosquez
by Ernest Chavez
A recent Supreme Court decision highlights the “cruel and unusual” conditions of the California prison system. Community organizer Ernest Chavez says inmates with mental health needs, such as Jerome Wilson, illustrate an even deeper systemic problem.
On May 23, 2010, in the landmark decision of Brown v. Plata, the Supreme Court of the United States ordered the release of 37,000 prison inmates in California, arguing that the severe overcrowding in the prison facilities has reached a new height of danger – calling the current conditions of the facilities, “cruel and unusual,” and unconstitutional. In a system where tens of thousands of prison inmates suffer from mental illness and mental health issues, it is especially urgent to consider how these individuals will be impacted by this court order.