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)

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)

Fairyland PTO Says It Can't Get Help From Walker County Schools And Board For Cafeteria Woes

Officials of the Fairyland Elementary School PTO said in recent months, the Fairyland Elementary School cafeteria "has effectively been shut down due to equipment (which broke in June) and consequent staffing issues." The group said, "As it stands now, all food is 'satellited' in from Ridgeland High School to Fairyland Elementary School for all meals including breakfast, lunch ... (click for more)

Drink Up, Chattanooga

I attended the meeting to discuss the placement of the sewage treatment plant at the Cambridge Center in Ooltewah today. My problem with the meeting (aka) dog and pony show, is that the meeting started out with the agenda of the Ooltewah Community Council.  After living in this area for 45+ years I have never heard of this group.  I would like for someone to answer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

The reviews are good after we initiated “The Funny Video of the Week” but today let me take the liberty of sharing an oldie that I consider the funniest of all time. Please be aware the principals are speaking Polish, which you also need to know makes not a bit of difference. I have watched “The Polish Spoon Trick” at least 50 times because every time I watch the video it makes ... (click for more)