This week I dropped off 13 phones at the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund. I saw Executive Director Peter Goldberg speak at the NYC Tech Solidarity meeting in February and he went over the story of Kalief Browder.
Peter talked about the amazing effects that bail has on guilt. If you can post bail, you are magically less likely to plead guilty to charges and to go to jail. Heck, if I can help people magically not commit crimes by helping them get bail, that seems like a great way to reduce crime!
Peter said they ( and all non-profits) have surprising needs that nerds with good jobs wouldn’t expect. They need laptops, desktops, phones.
In the BCBF’s case, loaning someone a phone means they have a vastly higher chance of not missing their court date. It allows the bail fund to communicate with their clients and make sure everything works out.
I went to my help desk and CTO, and talked with them about old phones available for donations – we cycle through new equipment and have lots of “loaners” or used phones – more than we reasonably need. Just by asking and working with the help desk team to wipe old phones we managed to get phones that we’d just pay someone to recycle for us into the hands of folks who can fight for a fair trial.
Not bad, and not much work to do a hell of a lot of good. If you want to give them a few bucks to do this good work, you can also donate to the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund online. Let me know if you do!