SAVE THE DATE! On November 19th, Behind the Walls will be throwing a party at Revival Brewing to raise money for our Community Court Debt fund. 100% of the proceeds will go towards paying off community members’ debt.
Court debt is one of the many ways our state criminalizes poverty and keeps low-income Black and brown people in a never-ending cycle of incarceration. In RI, the state forces people going through the court system to pay hundreds to thousands in fines and fees. People are often released from prison without being notified that they have debt- a huge barrier to successful reentry, on top of the stigma of a record, the trauma of incarceration, and the discrimination in job and housing markets. The courts issue warrants when people miss a payment, and our loved ones are snatched away from their families and reincarcerated over as little as $20. In 2008, @opendoors_ri put out a report showing that the most common reason people in RI are put in jail is court debt–17% of all jailings and almost 2,500 incidents a year. Many are homeless, mentally or physically disabled, and unemployed.
The Behind the Walls Committee is a group of people impacted by the prison system who are fighting for the safety and well-being of other system-impacted people. Over the past year, we have supported community members in requesting a reduction in debt; worked with the Center for Health and Justice Transformation to educate courts about the need to eliminate the practice of assigning debt and issuing warrants; and raised money to pay off community members’ fines and fees.
If you or a loved one want support around court debt, hit us up!
Big ups to Revival Brewing for giving us the venue at reduced cost, the community members who raised funds to cover the venue, and the artists and DJs who are throwing down! Flier by our member @kamncheese, with old photos of DARE members dancing for liberation ⚡️