The Division of Student Affairs presented a film screening and a panel discussion on November 23rd at 5pm at the Hub Auditorium.
The film, The Bail Trap, was screened and a panel of four speakers followed it to answer the questions proposed by Mrs. Leslie Lang, the Director Adult Learner Programs & Services and a fierce advocate of minorities in Centre County. The panel included the Executive Director for the Center for Alternatives in Community Justice, Evelyn Wald, who accompanied the Centre County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna, the Magisterial District Judge Steven Lachman, and an Attorney for Student Legal Services at Penn State, Daniel Mckenrick.
Many questions arose from the documentary for which the legal system does not provide an explanation. One of the questions was why are there people in jail without the right to post bail and what are the facts considered to make this determination. One of the issues exposed was the lack of standards to make a determination as to who deserves the chance to post bail. However, all the panel members expressed that in Centre County the Magisterial District Judges are pretty reasonable in making such determination.
Evelyn Wald explained the role of the Center for Alternatives in Community Justice. One of our programs is the Pre-Trial program which provides supervision, support, and insights to those who have allegedly committed a crime and are waiting for trial. During that process, CACJ helps them to find or maintain their jobs, find or maintain a place to live, and helps them organize their lives for whatever decisions are made at trial. With this program, CACJ saved the county almost 400 thousand dollars in taxes last year, and helped many families in this process after arrest.
Please consider signing the petition to eliminate cash bail on misdemeanors in Centre County and provide judges implicit bias training. If you want to do so, contact Mrs. Leslie Laing to firstname.lastname@example.org