Source: The Nation
Thousands of arrestees a year are forced into get-out-of-jail-broke cards that are loaded up with deceptive fees.
year and a half ago, after a grand jury declined to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, protests swept the nation. Portland, Oregon, was no exception. More than 2,000 people rallied outside the Multnomah County Justice Center the day after the decision was announced. Danica Brown, 48, joined hundreds who swarmed the streets, blocking traffic and bridges. A PhD candidate at Portland State University and a seasoned activist, Brown was one of seven protesters arrested that day. A
Brown recalls the experience as unpleasant: As she knelt on the ground in handcuffs, one officer took a trophy photo. She was shuttled to a local police station, for a brief interrogation, then taken back to the Justice Center, where she was charged with disorderly conduct and interfering with a police officer.
am on November 26, 2014, at a loss about how to get home, nine miles away. Her wallet, cellphone, and keys were in her backpack at the first police station. The $30.97 she had in her pocket was taken by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, which operates the Justice Center jail. Until May of that year, correctional officers would have simply handed her the money back, and she’d have been able to grab a taxi home. Instead, says Brown, an officer handed her a sheaf of papers and a piece of plastic—a Numi Prestige Prepaid MasterCard—that held her cash.Brown was released at 2:30
The materials included a densely worded brochure explaining the terms and fees associated with the debit card, and a list of nearby ATMs. But Brown had left her glasses at home and the type was too small to read; the officer didn’t offer any words of explanation.