In the work Restoring Justice is doing, many different people, circumstances and events are encountered, which are inspiring and motivating to continue within the community. Some of these stories are shared below.
The names have been changed to protect confidentialities, but the stories and situations are completely true.
Mike’s defense attorney erred, resulting in a sentence of probation and prison at the same time. When released from prison on parole in Houston, he impossibly faced ten years of probation requirements – all to be completed in six months. The rural convicting county issued a warrant. Mike was arrested and without help, he would be transported across the state. Restoring Justice provided an adequate defense attorney to correct the mistake. Mike felt freedom again after only a weekend in custody. As a Restoring Justice client, Mike now has a voice to continuously help him navigate parole conditions.
Quan was in jail for two years facing pending charges. He was ignored, knew nothing about his defense, and innocence claims were never investigated. Funds for a court-appointed investigator were used to further compel Quan to plead guilty. After the drain of incarceration, lack of hope, and false counsel that his plea deal ensured probation, he succumbed and pled guilty with only a sentencing hearing left. Because he turned down a ten-year offer, prosecutors asked for a fifteen-year prison sentence. A Restoring Justice defense attorney stepped in to show Quan’s humanity and true heart. The judge gave him a three-year sentence.
Mike and Quan are too poor to afford an attorney. Mass incarceration disproportionately affects and criminalizes the poor and people of color. The large majority of criminal defendants in America are indigent. The poor and the oppressed are more likely to be stopped by police, searched, arrested, given longer sentences, and refused probation and parole than those with means. Under the current system, most appointed defense attorneys are overloaded and not provided the resources for adequate, effective representation.