Thursday, November 24, 2016

What's Up With #ThanksgivingInJail?

Posted By on Thu, Nov 24, 2016 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge The Shelby County Criminal justice Center at 201 Poplar. - GOOGLE MAPS
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  • The Shelby County Criminal justice Center at 201 Poplar.

So, why are some of your Facebook friends checking in at 201 Poplar on Thanksgiving?

Maybe it’s criminal activity, but it’s most likely not.

They’re checking in there to draw attention to the fact that hundreds of inmates at the Shelby County Jail won’t be home for the holiday this year. Many have been stranded in the jail as county officials attempt to install a new computer system for the jail and the court system.

Thousands checked in recently at Standing Rock Native American Reservation a few weeks ago to show solidarity with those there protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Just City, a criminal justice reform advocacy group in Memphis, started the check-in here and asked Facebook users to use the hashtag #ThanksgivingInJail. The group joined a class-action lawsuit last week to spur action on the technology update and get inmates moving more freely through the jail and the courts.

“[The social media campaign], will help remind people that while many of us are celebrating this day with loved ones and family, there are hundreds of individuals in the jail who should be free, but aren’t,” said Kerry Hayes, a consultant for Just City.

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office did not respond to a query from the Flyer Tuesday on whether or not government officials and contractors would be working through the Thanksgiving holiday to ready the new computer system.

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