Jail Support Training Work Sheet

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Occupy Wall Street Jail Support

Basic Training

What is jail support?

Jail support is a show of solidarity with fellow activists. It is instrumental in ensuring the representation of arrested activists and the mental and physical health of released detainees. In addition, having involved activists present when arrestees are released feels good. There are two mindsets of folks who are released. First there are folks who are strengthened by the experience and take jail time as a worthwhile sacrifice in the larger movement. Other folks may have had a traumatizing experience and need moral support and direction to medical and emotional resources.

How does jail support work?

At a minimum, every location that holds arrested folks needs at lease one legal observer, one medic, one trained individual trained in emotional support, and one concerned sister or brother. The more the merrier, but it is important to keep a non-threatening presence to avoid conflict and/or arrest.

Here are the steps…

  1. Assemble your team: When news of arrests arrive, activate! Let the legal table know you are going to do support, and give a call to the NLG (212 679 6018) as well as the Jail Support (774 257 4697) to find out where you are going. It is critical to be efficient so know where you’re going before you move out. Also, be sure to ask if there is a legal observer or lawyer at the location and if they are not when they will be expected at the location.

  2. Get your materials: Jail support materials include food, water, warm clothing, a camera and cigarettes are always well received. Grab some release sheets as well to collect appropriate information to pass on to the NLG. Get together your team and grab the jail support bin found at SIS (located at 52 Broadway) or in the medic station.

  3. Move out!: Get to the location quickly and establish the point of release so you are present to received freed detainees. Be prepared to take down names of freed folks, ensuring them their information is confidential and will only be used by the NLG to aide in their defense. Required info is full legal name, date of birth, charges, injuries, return court date. As mentioned before, this information is only to be used by the NLG to ensure the activist has legal representation at their court date. If they do not feel comfortable giving this information then have them call the NLG on the spot.

  4. Field collected info to the National Lawyers Guild: Email data collected from forms to nlgnyc@igc.org before your shift is over so they know who has been released and how to contact them. Keep in touch with the guild as folks are released. This way everyone has a good idea of how many still are being released.

Jail Support Conduct: Systems of Solidarity

      1. You are representing the Occupy Movement when you are doing jail solidarity! Keep it legal and respectful, and the city will show solidarity with you.

      2. Establish contact with the police. Let them know who you are and why you are there, but do not be aggressive or threatening. You are there to free your folks, not to stick it to the man.

      3. You are more useful outside the precinct than in a cell! If you are asked to move, move. If you are asked to leave be aware of your rights. Know where you should and should not be as well.

      4. Keep your solidarity crew cool. You can have a lot of folks with you, but keep it calm. Rallying will agitate police and can slow the process. You also run the risk of arrest.

      5. Do not speak to or contact the press! This can compromise the trial of you’re buddy. Also make sure they know they should keep the details of their arrest quiet until after their court date.

      6. Be prudent when documenting. Only take the aforementioned information from released folks. If you’re friend is telling you too much about the details of their arrest, do not repeat and do not record anything other than the NLG’s required info.

      7. Do not email any photos or videos to the NLG. Any and all information about the details of one’s arrest and any evidence of said arrest must stay between the arrestee and their lawyer, exclusively. Any breach can threaten the trial.

Location Notes

Numbered Precinct: Go into precinct and let them know who you are and where you are from. Be polite and ask how many people they are holding. You can also inquire if they have all had a chance to let their lawyer know where they are. If you’re solo, sometimes they let you sit outside. If they ask you to leave tell them you will be across the street. If you have folks with you go ahead and set up across the street. Pay attention to vans and trucks leaving the precinct, they may be transferring your folks.

One Police Plaza: Lawyers and activists are not allowed in the 1PP complex. We set up support in Chatham Square, behind the complex. Let the officer in the guard post know who you are and why you are there. He will verify that all released detainee’s will leave the complex through there. They will release people 24/7, but be aware you’re folks can be transferred at any time. Luckily, you will see the van leave the complex.

Central Booking, 100 Center Street: Operation hours for Central Booking are 9am-1am Monday through Saturday and 1pm-10pm Sunday. Here, the process is slower because our folks will be arraigned by a judge. You can always check the docket, posted every few hours, to get an idea of when they will see a judge. You can have someone inside the court, as well as in the halls. But, if your crew is more than 7 people, have some sit outside on the steps. Be aware to enter you will go through a metal detector and have you’re bags scanned.

Important Numbers

National Lawyers Guild 212 679 6018

Jail Support Coordination 774 257 4697

Central booking 212 374 3838

Arraignment Office 646 386 4545

Solidarity Forever

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