The board should vote yes on repeal and discharge because its most vulnerable constituents are being exploited for money they simply do not have. As detailed in EBCLC’s recent report, “Pay or Prey: How the Alameda County Criminal Justice System Extracts Wealth from Marginalized Communities,” the ripple effects of these debts are immense and reinforce systems of cyclical poverty, with families usually paying a significant price for their loved ones criminal justice debts.
Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods, the East Bay Community Law Center, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and other groups told the board that the fees should be eliminated because they create a long-term financial burden for low-income people who already served time for their crimes but then have problems turning their lives around.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Alameda County Will Vote to End Assessment of and Discharge $26 Million in Adult Fees
Newly-formed Debt Free Justice California coalition calls on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to put an end to this form of county-sanctioned wealth extraction and bring about “Debt-Free Justice” for communities.
Urban Habitat and the East Bay Community Law Center have released a new report, Rooted in Home: Community-Based Alternatives to the Bay Area Housing Crisis, which highlights examples of responses and long-term solutions to the housing crisis—rooted in permanent affordability and democratic community control.
Listen to Jhumpa Bhattacharya, Brandon Greene and Noe Gudiño discuss the impacts of administrative criminal justice fees and fines on formerly incarcerated individuals as they try to move on with their lives after serving time.
For Immediate Release: Governor Brown signs landmark legislation to remove barriers to licensing and decrease recidivism
This weekend, Governor Edmund “Jerry” Brown signed AB 2138 to remove barriers for occupational licensing for close to 8 million Californians living with criminal records. AB 2138 was written by attorneys at the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC), with the support of a coalition of organizations.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: East Bay Community Law Center attorneys, law students, and community partners advance legislation to end criminal justice fees in Alameda County
Tomorrow, the Alameda County Probation Department, Public Defenders Office, and the Sheriff’s Office will testify in front of the Public Protection Committee to urge the adoption of legislation that will eliminate criminal justice administration fees in Alameda County. The East Bay Community Law Center, a legal services provider serving low-income residents in Alameda County, along with the Policy Advocacy Clinic of U.C. Berkeley Law School, Justice Reinvestment Coalition of Alameda County, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and the Urban Strategies Council, have been actively advocating for the elimination of these fees.
But in a state ravaged by wildfires, where firefighters’ overtime costs are soaring and backup from Australia had to be called in to help fight the Carr Fire near Redding, advocates for the formerly incarcerated like Vinuta Naik, a staff attorney with the East Bay Community Law Center, have a hard time understanding why firefighting agencies are turning away formerly incarcerated people with hands-on experience.
Furthermore, collection agencies are not bound by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which protects consumers from various forms of threat and harassment, because court debts are considered “involuntary.” As a result of this loophole, said Miguel Soto, an attorney at the East Bay Community Law Center, “We’ve had clients tell us that the [debt collector] they’re dealing with is threatening them with violence, imprisonment, or, in some occasions, deportation.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Superior Court of Alameda County has revised its criteria for low-income applicants seeking a fine reduction for traffic infractions, making fine reduction more accessible to low-income residents.
Monday, June 25, 2018: OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA: The Superior Court of Alameda County has revised its criteria for low-income applicants seeking a fine reduction for traffic infractions, making the Court’s fine reduction program more accessible to low-income residents.