Leon County protesters stand against jailhouse injustices

Photo Courtesy: D’Miya Smith

The Tallahassee Community Action Committee (TCAC) gathered together in front of the Leon County sheriff’s office Saturday to protest for better conditions at the Leon County Jail.

Tallahassee Community Action Committee is a local organization that is dedicated to fighting for peace, justice, and equality through direct action. TCAC is committed to fighting the system to improve the lives and material conditions for all who suffer underneath. While their focus is local, they are connected to people everywhere.

Individuals gathered together to advocate for better living conditions such as not ending in-person visitation, fewer 24/7 lockdowns, better food and access to books or resources.

Director of Community Outreach and Engagement of TCAC Trish Brown was the host for the protest. Brown explained how the current conditions in the Leon County jail are not fit for people and are being run by slave trafficking corporations.

“The covid situation behind bars as far as booking and how they isolate people is very unjust,” said Brown. “Tallahassee Leon County correctional facility was not designed to handle a pandemic, and for that, it is unsafe to have individuals behind bars.”

Over a dozen participants gathered with signs to fight for the current injustice happening in the Leon County jail. Among those protesters was Erica Halbert, who said her interest in criminal justice reform and fighting for better conditions is what brought her out.

“I want to see these people treated like people. I’ve seen my friends and family go through this, and I’ve seen the impact of it…,” said Halbert. “Going forward, I want to see humane conditions. Let people visit their families and quit the ban on books.”

Protestors not only came out to fight for their loved ones who are incarcerated but also to fight for themselves as former victims of the Leon County jail. Regina Joseph is the president of TCAC, who spoke about her personal jail experience and why she is fighting so hard for justice.

“I thought it was important for us to be out here today because I had a very small glimpse of having my freedom being taken away at the Leon County jail,” said Joseph.

Protesting and fighting for a better society and justice inequality, Joseph was one of many to get arrested on Sept. 5.

Currently, it is being reported that individuals incarcerated at the Leon County jail are being restricted from seeing loved ones and are living in conditions not suitable for covid prevention. Hand sanitizer is not given or offered, and arresting officers refuse to put on masks. People are being put in solitary confinement for “safety reasons,” and the jail is not trying hard enough to provide the proper medical assistance.

The Leon County sheriff’s office, run by Sheriff Walt McNeil, has issued an appeal hearing for Sept. 29, 2021, and will be discussing public safety issues as well as current changes that are underway. Although the protest was cut short due to the rain, director Trish Brown said this will not be the last thing that people hear of TCAC fighting for what they believe in.