Since we started jail support the week after Mike Brown was murdered, our goal has been to create an effective and trustworthy support structure that emboldens St. Louisans to be in the streets to demand justice. We believe jail support is one small part of building a movement powerful enough to create a world in which Black Lives Matter. We also firmly believe that an action, march, or rally isn’t really over until everyone is out of jail.
As the movement evolves, jail support is changing to meet new needs of activists. Currently, a lot of our energy is dedicated to supporting the dozens of people who are still in jail with serious felony charges and high bonds ($20,000+) resulting from the protests following the grand jury announcement. This is very time consuming work that involves supporting arrestees’ families, securing and coordinating with attorneys, and advocating for the just treatment of arrestees to the public defender’s office, jails, and elected officials. We are also continuing to provide support to more than 500 activists who have been released from jail, including connecting them to attorneys and working to hold the police accountable for their abuse of protesters. It is difficult to do the work we need to do to support all of these folks and also run and staff a hotline that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Thus, in order to maintain the sustainability of our jail support efforts and ensure that we are providing the best possible support to members of this movement, we are changing our jail support hotline model. Starting tomorrow (12/6/2014), the jail support hotline will be open from 9:30am-1pm every day of the week and by request during other hours. If you are arrested while the jail support hotline is not open, your friends can still call us and leave a message detailing your information, and we will begin advocating for your release the next morning. If an action group approaches us 48 hours before their action, we can staff jail support for a specific action. To do so, you can send an email (with limited action details!) to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 314-862-2249 between 9:30am and 1pm. If an action group gives us less than 48 hours notice, we'll try to put something together, but can’t guarantee anything. We will also generally be doing bond runs once every morning (instead of all day and night).
Of course, if people are planning actions and want to do their own jail support and work with us to find people to run bonds, give people rides home, etc. we will work with folks. Some quick things you can do to ensure we can provide the best jail support possible are:
1. Contact us in advance of your action (ideally at least 48 hours before)
2. Before your action, make sure all of your people have filled out jail support forms (found here: http://fergusonaction.com/ferguson-jail-support-form/) and you have a designated person who will not be in the streets to hold onto those. If any of your people get arrested, your jail support person can call us with their specific information.
3. Before your action, designate a person to run bond and pick your people up from jail
Please contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions.