CALEB Launches Call For A Community Bail Fund With October Event

Friday, September 21, 2018

Chattanooga Actions in Love, Equality and Benevolence will host a public event to launch the Hamilton County Bail Fund project on Oct. 18. Its goal is to inform local organizations of the possibilities for a bail fund and the success of similar funds around the country, and to lay the groundwork for next steps in the following months.

The Hamilton Community Bail Fund event will take place at First Centenary United Methodist Church in “The Vine” Sanctuary from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18. The meeting will include support statements from local community leaders, overviews of the national and local pre-trial incarceration problem and the process for bond/bail, as well as a description of the mechanics of successful bail funds. 

CALEB officials said nearly seven out of 10 people serving time in the Hamilton County Jail haven’t been tried for any crime. Pre-trial incarceration rates have skyrocketed in the last 20 years, rising well above both state and national averages. This strain on the criminal justice system leads not only to expensive and ineffective costs to the county, but in a chasm of justice between wealthy and poor defendants. Unattainable bonds with no accountability lead to people being jailed for being poor rather than safety their dodging a court appearance, said officials.

Dr. Michelle Deardorff, department Head and Adolph S. Ochs professor of Government at UTC said, “The question of bail is a difficult one for our society—we want to ensure that the accused have a reason to stay in their community and face trial and requiring bail can provide the necessary stake. On the other hand, approximately 443,000 people who are currently detained in local jails have not been convicted of a crime. We know that those who wait in jail for their trial— generally those who are poor—are more likely to be convicted of their crime and more likely to  have a sentence that includes incarceration.We need to address our current bail structure if we want to ensure a more just society.”

A bail fund is a nonprofit revolving account used to post bail for qualifying defendants. When the defendant shows up for his or her court date, the money is returned to the fund to be used for the next applicant. Similar funds have been set up in both Shelby and Davidson County. The Nashville Community Bail Fund was established in June 2016 and the fund’s resources have bailed out over 330 people. Of those supported, 97 percent made it to their court date and 25 percent of supported defendants had charges dismissed. 

Allen Shropshire, outreach coordinator for Empower Chattanooga, a program of green|spaces, member of CALEB, sees the community bail fund as potentially transformative for people who find themselves incarcerated.  He said, “I feel this Bail Fund can help those who aren't able to help themselves in a time of need. Bonding out of jail can be difficult to those who may not have the funds to do so. This effort will take the support of the community and the whole city to make a difference to help others, and I for one love the idea of helping someone who doesn't see a way out of their current situation.”

This event is free and open to the public. RSVP at caleb.chattanooga@gmail.com. Light refreshments will be served at the event.


McKamey Animal Center Offers $500 Reward

McKamey Animal Center is seeking information regarding three seriously neglected dogs abandoned in the 3400 block of Lightfoot Mill Road in Chattanooga sometime around or before Oct. 12. The dogs were found by the railroad tracks, which is a common location for abandoned animals, officials said.   According to McKamey Animal Service’s Officer Rebecca Ross, “All three ... (click for more)

Former Hamilton County Commissioner Joe Graham Helps Honoring The Sacrifice Foundation

Honoring the Sacrifice Foundation received a $20,000 gift from the discretionary funds account of departing Hamilton County Commissioner Joe Graham. Honoring the Sacrifice Foundation is a Chattanooga based public benefit charity whose mission is to meet the unique needs of post-9/11 severely wounded veterans. The donated funds will be used to purchase a custom wheel chair for ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Police Investigating Shooting That Victim Says Happened A Week Ago

Chattanooga Police responded to a local hospital on Friday evening after a person arrived with a gunshot wound.   The injured man told police he was shot on Thursday, Oct. 11. He said he was shot while on the dance floor of a club somewhere along Brainerd Road.   If you have any information about the incident, call Chattanooga Police at 423-698-2525. You ... (click for more)

Charles Pipkens, Lajeromeney Brown Arrested In Series Of Violent Home Invasions In Which Robbers Posed As Police

Chattanooga Police have arrested Charles Dijon Pipkens and Lajeromeney Brown in connection with a series of violent home invasions in which the suspects told their victims they were Chattanooga Police officers.. Pipkens, 27, was charged in an Aug. 11 case and Brown, 40, in an incident on Sept. 19. Pipkens, of 434 N. Hickory St., is charged with two counts of aggravated kidnapping, ... (click for more)

Teach For America Raises Concerns

For the last several years, many groups, individuals and parties interested in preserving public education for our children have stood firm as a rampantly growing privatization movement has descended upon our local educational landscape.  We saw last year the Department of Education push a plan that would form a partnership zone which could potentially lead to schools in the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Inequality & The Left

The story is told about a liberal politician who was getting a room full of snowflakes all heated up over equity and equality, which is big with the political Left right now. One of his handlers finally got the chance and whispered in his ear, “Use ‘fairness’ instead! That’s what sells … “ Afterwards a newspaper column read, “The liberals love fairness because it cannot be measured. ... (click for more)