Abused? Arrested? Imprisoned? Ten apps to help the poor cope with a justice system that favors the rich.

16 mins read

Abused? Arrested? Imprisoned? Ten apps to help the poor cope with a justice system that favors the rich.

The rich post bail, or lawyer up and go free. The poor are imprisoned for minor offenses, cannot pay bail, end up in jail and stripped of their voting rights in many states. A criminal record makes it harder for them to find employment once they’ve served their sentence… It’s a vicious cycle that disempowers the poor.

These solutions are a new breed of legal tech — instead of focusing on modernizing the existing legal services such as contracts, practice management and legal research. They leverage technology to directly scale legal services to underserved people. – Felicity Conrad

These ten apps and services help individuals and those who care for them cope with a justice system that favors the rich.

Pigeonly – provides a simple, affordable way to stay in touch with an inmate you care about
Legaler Aid – connects litigants in social justice cases with passionate lawyers and the funding
Easy Expunctions – offers an automated process to easily expunge a person’s criminal record
Courtroom5 – provides essential tools for handling your civil lawsuit
Edovo – makes staying in touch with loved ones more affordable
The Last Mile – prepares incarcerated individuals for successful reentry through tech training
Good Call – provides a free service that connects arrested New Yorkers with volunteer lawyers
Immigration Help – helps individuals prepare their immigration forms for free
Raheem – helps hold officers accountable by helping you file a complaint
Road To Status – offers an app to prepare immigration paperwork

Fair justice for all

Pigeonly reduces the destructive impact of incarceration with an affordable, easy way to keep in touch with your inmate. It provides a simple, affordable way to stay in touch with an inmate you care about from any phone, tablet, or computer.

Pigeonly reduces the destructive impact of incarceration with an affordable, easy way to keep in touch with your inmate. It provides a simple, affordable way to stay in touch with an inmate you care about from any phone, tablet, or computer.

Send Inmates Money Online. Fund your inmate’s commissary or inmate trust account using your credit, debit, prepaid or your bank account. Add to an inmate’s books today.

Write a Prisoner. Send mail to jail and at any county, state, or federal correctional facility. We take all of the work of packaging letters for you – making it a quick, easy process. Write an inmate right from your phone, tablet or computer.

Legaler Aid connects litigants in social justice cases with passionate lawyers and the funding they need to navigate an overpriced legal system.

Legaler Aid connects litigants in social justice cases with passionate lawyers and the funding they need to navigate an overpriced legal system.

Legaler Aid exclusively serves the 501(c)(3) charitable and educational purposes of connecting society’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged with pro bono legal services with the goal to provide every person on the planet with a means to access the basic human right of justice.

Legaler Aid let users donate to legal cases fighting for social justice. Funds donated to cases will be directed to recovering legal fees, the costs of retaining experts, as well as other associated costs, like filing fees. Once users have donated, they can share the campaign, as well as keep up to date with the latest news from the case. Users may also donate to causes, directly funding organizations that are driving broader change in access to justice.Support Legaler Aid

Easy Expunctions uses a patented and automated process to easily expunge a person's criminal record for much less than the cost of a lawyer.

Easy Expunctions uses a patented and automated process to easily expunge a person’s criminal record for much less than the cost of a lawyer.

“Forty percent of all Americans will be arrested at least once, and even though around half will have the opportunity to expunge that arrest from their record, only one percent of them will actually go through the process. After a user registers, the site will run a free background check to determine whether you have a criminal record that would qualify for expunction. If qualified, the user pays a flat fee, which comes with a 100% money back guarantee if your record isn’t expunged. Documents are automatically generated within 24 hours, and the service provides step by step instructions throughout the entire process.” – TechCrunch

Courtroom5 provides essential tools for handling your civil lawsuit. It is most useful for debt collection, foreclosure, probate, family law, personal injury, employment discrimination, and other cases where the wheels of justice turn more slowly.

Courtroom5 provides essential tools for handling your civil lawsuit. It is most useful for debt collection, foreclosure, probate, family law, personal injury, employment discrimination, and other cases where the wheels of justice turn more slowly.

Use DOCUMENTS to draft all your legal filings using built-in tools. Research the law, analyze your case, and paste from saved notes and evidence, all from within your document. Your professionally styled document is ready to download and file when you’re done.

Edovo's  makes staying in touch with loved ones more affordable, improves safety within correctional environments, and increases opportunities for rehabilitation. Its secure tablet technology delivers free access to educational programming and low cost communication services.

Edovo’s makes staying in touch with loved ones more affordable, improves safety within correctional environments, and increases opportunities for rehabilitation. Its secure tablet technology delivers free access to educational programming and low cost communication services.

It’s called corrections, but constraints on facilities and their populations mean there isn’t genuine opportunity for meaningful rehabilitation. Today, many of the 2.2 million people who are incarcerated spend much of their time on daytime television.

Limited Access to Communication. Tight budgets and limited resources prevent jails and prisons from delivering meaningful programming or rehabilitative content. Education decreases recidivism by 43%, but 4 out of 5 people in custody don’t have regular access.
Costly Communication. High rates, unnecessary fees, and poor customer service have become all too common in corrections, thanks to limited competition and profit driven vendors. These problems are felt by agencies, the incarcerated, and their loved ones.
Higher Violence and Recidivism. Substantive education and consistent communication are key in helping individuals prepare for re-entry. A lack of affordable access and engagement can lead to higher rates of violence and recidivism for incarcerated populations.

The Last Mile prepares incarcerated individuals for successful reentry through business and technology training.

The Last Mile prepares incarcerated individuals for successful reentry through business and technology training.

The Last Mile (TLM) works through state correctional departments, the coding program is now offered in 17 facilities across six states. Around 250 graduates have re-entered society and none have returned to prison.

Incarcerated individuals can’t have access to the Internet. So the curriculum uses a learning management system that meets correctional facility security requirements and also delivers a Web-like experience. Up to 25 students, who have to apply to be accepted into the program and must not have had an infraction for the last two years, sit at computers and the classes are taught remotely. TLM Works, an in-prison workforce development program aimed at helping students develop a portfolio of real-life coding projects before release. They created a web development shop inside San Quentin, where participants could work on client-funded projects. – ForbesSupport The Last Mile

Good Call (1-833-3-GOODCALL) provides a free service that connects arrested New Yorkers  with volunteer lawyers.

Good Call (1-833-3-GOODCALL) provides a free service that connects arrested New Yorkers with volunteer lawyers.

Low-income communities experience a higher number of arrests, most of which are for low-level misdemeanors. Unfortunately, legal help comes too late after potentially damaging events have unfolded. The consequences can last a lifetime. Arrests and their aftermaths have proven to be frightening and painful for the detained, their family, and friends. Good Call strives to provide those affected with as much transparency as possible about the legal process and system, regardless of income, race and sex.

Anyone in NY can call the Good Call hotline number? 1-833-3-GOODCALL (1-833-346-6322) in case of an arrest and talk to a free lawyer, whether or not they have saved any contact information ahead of time. However, saving emergency contacts will allow your lawyer to get in touch with you in case you’re ever arrested, and help them build a strong case for your defense

New Yorkers are often arrested for trivial reasons like hopping a turnstile, forgetting to pay a ticket, or simply “fitting the description”. With their cell phones taken away, their only way to reach out for help was a few phone calls on an old dial-pad phone, to numbers they had to have memorized. It was difficult for them to reach their loved ones and nearly impossible to reach a lawyer. Their inability to get help in this critical moment often times lead to devastating outcomes, including getting fired from their jobs, being wrongfully sent to jail for weeks on end, and admitting to crimes they didn’t commit.Support Good Call

Immigration Help is a non-profit that helps prepare DACA forms for free.

Immigration Help is a non-profit that helps prepare DACA forms for free.

ImmigrationHelp.org is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that helps individuals prepare their immigration forms for free. 

Detailed immigration guides, checklists, and timelines. Immigration can be tricky, and lawyers are too expensive. Immigration Help provides free DACA, Green Card, and Citizenship guides to navigate the application process with confidence.Support Immigration Help

Raheem helps hold officers accountable by helping you file a complaint, find a free lawyer, and publicize your story.

Raheem helps hold officers accountable by helping you file a complaint, find a free lawyer, and publicize your story.

Raheem helps people abused by the police report when they report an incident. It connects them with resources for justice and healing, such as finding a free lawyer, filing a complaint, or uniting with a local advocacy organization. It tailors the resources based on what was reported, where, and by whom. Raheem produces a national dataset on police behavior for more than 200 cities across the country.

Road To Status prepare immigration paperwork with fast, affordable “do-it-yourself” software along with optional review from a licensed immigration attorney.

Road To Status prepare immigration paperwork with fast, affordable “do-it-yourself” software along with optional review from a licensed immigration attorney.

Road To Status tools guide you through each question step-by-step making it easier to deal with immigration paperwork. They prepare easy to follow instructions so you know exactly the steps to take when filing. They also offer review from a licensed network immigration attorney for added assurance and a money back guarantee if an application is not accepted by the USCIS.

Resources

Florida Restorative Rights Coalition (FRRC) – “Disparities are evident throughout the criminal justice system. A prime example is our state’s system of money bail, in which the vast majority of people arrested have to pay to secure release from jail before trial. Decisions surrounding bail and pretrial detention, including how risky a person is and how much they have to pay, are often biased. Meanwhile, holding people in jail before trial destabilizes their lives, increases their risk of reoffending, and has been a main driver of the increase in Florida’s jail population. Reforming bail and improving oversight throughout our criminal justice system will reduce inequities, recidivism, and costs for taxpayers.”

Human Rights Watch – “When judges believe defendants might not otherwise return to court, however, they set money bail as a condition of release. Unfortunately, today as years ago, bail is usually out of reach for poor defendants. For people scrambling to pay the rent each month or who live on the streets, a bail of US$1,000 or even $500 can be as impossible to make as one of $100,000. Unable to post bail, they are sent to jail for pretrial detention. Pretrial detention may be appropriate for dangerous defendants charged with violent crimes. But the preponderance of criminal defendants in New York City are accused of low level offenses such as smoking marijuana in public, turnstile jumping, or shoplifting. Sending them to jail for want of a few hundred dollars cannot be squared with basic notions of fairness, human rights, or fiscal common sense.”

Race and The Criminal Justice System – “..the war on drugs has created a target of brown and black bodies and those who live in poor neighborhoods as the worst and ONLY enemy. We have “Pot Princess” Julia Diaco from New York who after multiple drug sales to an undercover narcotics officer facing up to 25 years in prison was sentenced to 5 years on probation. An injustice heightened in this article  at the comparison of Ashley O’Donoghue, a black man who was also arrested as a first time nonviolent drug offender who is serving seven to twenty one years. Now nearing the end of  2015 we have Sarah Furay an “adorable drug kingpin” of Texas  the daughter of a DEA agent possessing five different narcotics along with packing materials and two digital scales.”

TakeAway: Share details about and support groups working to make the justice system fair for everyone – regardless of race and wealth.

Deepak
DemLabs

Abuse of law
Broken justice system disempowers the poor and communities of color.

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