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Marques Banks

2017, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Marques Banks

Marques Banks

Name of Host Organization: Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
City, State: Washington, District of Columbia
Issue area: Prisoners' Rights
Sponsors: Covington & Burling LLP

The Project

Ending modern-day debtors’ prisons in the greater DC area, through direct representation and policy advocacy for individuals subject to overly onerous fines, fees and jail time for minor offenses.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
Individuals in the Greater DC area are spending time in jail because they are unable to pay overly onerous fines, fees, bail. Without the aid of counsel, individuals plead guilty and punished with fines they cannot afford. Sending people to jail because they are unable to pay is unconstitutional and has collateral consequences.
The Right Person For This Project
Marques is the right person for the project because:
• Has a background in community organizing and coalition building
• Started nonprofit organizing legal resources for the movement for black lives training hundreds on legal rights and collateral consequences of direct action
• Has experience working with indigent clients on various legal matters
Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship
In the first six months, Marques will:
• Investigate Courts in the Greater Washington DC area
• Investigate laws and best practices concerning bail, defender fees, and other fines
• Organize meetings with local national organizations who are engaged in criminal justice reform to develop strategic plan