The Campaign to End Debtors Prisons seeks to eliminate poverty as an element of criminal punishment. We’re a coalition of community members pushing for reform of the court fines & fees system. Our goals are twofold: 1) Eliminate fees in the justice system. 2) Ensure that fines are fairly imposed and enforced.
In 2018 alone, there were over 205,000 criminal or traffic cases filed in Delaware. Over 95% of those filings were for misdemeanor crimes or violations, petty offenses. For people with money, these small mistakes result in a slap on the wrist. However, for people without money, even the most minor of violations turns into a life sentence of debt and poverty due to fines and fees imposed by Delaware’s courts.
Anytime a person is found guilty of a criminal or traffic offense, they are imposed a series of fees, which fund various administrative costs and state programs; and fines, which are purely intended as punishment. Currently, Delaware Courts impose fines and fees without any consideration of someone’s ability to pay. This unfairly punishes people who cannot pay hundreds of dollars in court debt. When people cannot pay their court costs, they face harsh punishments: suspended driver's licenses, arrest warrants, and even incarceration. In the first 6 months of 2018, Delaware sentenced 129 people to jail only because they could not pay court costs.
Drafted and helped pass Wilmington City Council Resolution supporting statewide fines and fees reform.
Canvased outside courthouse to engage impacted individuals
Gave presentations to community groups to garner support and awareness of issue and reform
Poverty should not be a crime. It's time for this system to change. We demand Delaware stop trapping poor communities in cycles of debt and criminalization. To do so, we specifically demand five key changes:
We meet the first Wednesday of every month via Zoom. Contact Campaign Co-Coordinators Meryem Dede firstname.lastname@example.org or Lynne Kielhorn email@example.com to join our mailing list, get involved, or find out more
The Safe Communities campaign is a coalition of groups working to protect our immigrant communities and together promote policies that foster trust and clarity. This campaign aims to pass policies around "Safe Communities" (i.e. policies that keep state and local agencies removed from immigration enforcement) school districts, cities, counties, and the State of Delaware.Visit Page
There are real, tangible solutions to improving police and community relationships. One way to do this is by ensuring regular people are part of the answer. Everyone wants a safe neighborhood to live, work, and play in. And everyone wants to trust law enforcement officers who take on the duty to protect and serve.Visit Page