Treva C. Ellison @ Verso Books; excerpt below
“Bresha has been in custody at the Trumbull County Detention Center for the past 100 days, during which she has been placed on suicide watch and her family and loved ones have been fighting to get her released pre-trial. Bresha’s case focuses our attention on the disorder of law and order and its mechanisms of punishing the racialized poor: pre-trial detainment, the criminalization of self-defense and the ways gendered and sexual violence are surplus to law and order. Law and order punishes people for being poor; we know that pre-trial release is one of the factors that heavily impacts the extent of sentencing. People who cannot afford bail, or are denied bail are more likely to receive guilty verdicts and harsher sentences; being in custody confirms for juries and judges that you are where you should be. A recent study of misdemeanor and felony cases in Philadelphia showed that being detained pre-trial increases the likelihood of a guilty verdict by 13% on average. Currently, 34% of people awaiting trial in the US are unable to pay bail and represent the poorest third of Americans and 70% of the US county jail population are awaiting trial. Municipalities implementing with bail reform have found that pre-trial release does not significantly deter people from appearing in court; people want to live their lives. We also know that people of color, especially survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence are often not able to successfully use self-defense as legal strategy. I am thinking now of Marissa Alexander, CeCe McDonald, Ky Peterson, Patreese Johnson of the New Jersey 4, and Banya Lekheim El-Amin, all Black people who have been given double digit sentences for defending themselves against violent attacks, some of which include instances of domestic abuse and sexual assault. These cases hinge on sexual and gendered violence being surplus to the rhetoric and practice of law and order.”
From article. Screenshot from Free Bresha: A Night of Abolitionist Art and Action.