FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 24, 2023
Movement Alliance Project: A statement to provide clarity on the community-led bailout of a 15-yr-old kid
In response to misleading reports on community efforts to post bail for a 15-yr-old, who was determined eligible for release by the court, Movement Alliance Project has released the following statement urging for clarity on the process of bail and the public safety value of community bailout efforts:
“On June 24, 2022, a tragedy occurred in Philadelphia. James Lambert Jr. died due to injuries sustained during an unfortunate and deeply heartbreaking incident. It was traumatizing for all families involved and we can’t begin to imagine the pain Mr. Lambert’s family is going through at this time.
Movement Alliance Project is a fiscal sponsor, meaning we provide the administrative backend to a number of community organizations in Philadelphia, including some that support families who can’t afford to pay bail. We provide legal, financial and administrative oversight, programmatic decisions are made by the leadership of the community organizations we fiscally sponsor. The court decides if bail is appropriate. Our community organizations are not fact finders nor a court of law.
In this case, and in every case where an organization may post bail, the 15-yr-old was granted bail by the court and recognized not to be at flight risk. According to the law, bail is not to be used as a pretext to imprison a person pretrial, but as a guarantee that they will return to court until their case is concluded. The child was interviewed while incarcerated and a support interview was done with the family in order to assess what support the child would require should the child be bailed out and to make sure they understood any conditions that were put on release. The 15-yr-old has been receiving mentorship and supportive pretrial services that will support the child to keep showing up to court, continue receiving a high school education and ultimately be a positive contributor to the community.
The longstanding practice of community-led efforts to fund bailouts is grounded in a recognition that too many people are imprisoned pretrial, not because a jury found them guilty, but because they cannot afford to pay the cost to be free. Community organizations do this work, especially to bail out children who are incarcerated, because it leads to better outcomes for the community. There are documented, long-term public safety benefits to having people remain connected to their families, their housing, their schools, and their jobs while they await trial.
We are so deeply saddened that this tragedy occurred, and we also know that the answer to the epidemic of violence in our communities is to repair harm when it is caused and provide the care and attention needed to prevent more harm from happening. Unfortunately, careless reporting has capitalized off a family’s righteous anger, pain, and trauma, making a tragic situation worse. Our communities need more investment in trauma support services that can benefit families impacted by violence. We hope that all families involved are able to receive what they need to bring restoration that can initiate healing for them and our city.”
About Movement Alliance Project –Movement Alliance Project works to build a healthy movement ecosystem where organizations succeed in making transformational social change. We collaborate with organizations and alliances to develop strategy, collectivize the administrative capacity emerging projects need, and convene groups to deepen the interconnection and solidarity within and across sectors of organizing. For more information, please visit https://movementalliance.org