The Cookeville-Putnam County Branch of the NAACP was fortunate to have, at its March 16th meeting, the ACLU-TN's Claire Gardner as guest speaker. Claire provided for our branch a very informative presentation on the ACLU's "In Our Backyards Project," which addresses how the money bail system hurts people who live in rural communities. The money bail system criminalizes poverty, addiction and disability. The ACLU's "In Our Backyards Project" engages community members to get involved in the fight to reform this pervasive and predatory bail industry that traps rural Tennesseans with limited incomes in an endless cycle of incarceration.
The ACLU invites you all to join ACLU-TN at its 2021 Virtual Lobby Day on March 30. Please note that while the page says to RSVP by March 12, the advocacy team knows that we’re extending the invitation to the NAACP now, and are hopeful that as many of us will join us as possible!
Claire also wishes to share ACLU-TN’s Legislative 2021 Legislative Watchlist, which lists the status of bills, including bail reform and other criminal justice reform legislation, that the ACLU is monitoring.
She also would like to share the Vera Institute of Justice’s In Our Backyards Project’s incarceration data for Putnam County. With this link you can explore aggregated data on Putnam and surrounding counties' jail, prison and pre-trial rates and trends over time, and can compare other incarceration data, including racial and gender incarceration rates. This information is eye-opening!
The NAACP would like to thank Claire Gardner and the ACLU-TN for its partnership, for engaging us all to be aware of the problems with the money bail system, and for providing us with a means to remedy it.