How to Help

If you're like us, your digital life is one big, fast news feed. Some of this news is messed up. How to Help works in the news cycle to connect you with ways to do something about the day's big stories.

Inhumanity in Macomb

Inhumanity in Macomb

File this under human rights outrage of the week.

A pregnant woman named Jessica Preston gave birth on the dirty floor of her Michigan jail cell.

The hospital is less than 3 miles from the jail.

Why was she in jail? She was driving on a suspended license. She had been pulled over because the rosary hanging from her rearview mirror was an "obstruction of her view".

While this was her first offense, she couldn't pay the $10,000 (yes, $10,000) bond. She had to spend 14 days in jail until her court date.

Oh yeah, and 2 days after she gave birth, she was sent back to jail to finish her 14 day sentence.

How to demand accountability at Macomb County Jail

Something is very wrong at Macomb County Jail.

Two inmates have died there in recent years. They too were locked up for being broke: Jennifer Meyers was there because she was behind on child support payments, and David Stojcevski had failed to pay his traffic tickets. Another inmate was recently sexually assaulted by a guard.

Contact Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel to demand an investigation into conditions at the Macomb County Jail, as well as the resignation of Sheriff Anthony Wickersham: (586) 469-7001 (or

How to help end debtors' prisons

The Obama Administration's Justice Department, the Ferguson Commission, and advocacy groups have expressed concern about municipal debts in incarceration.

Even though they've long been ruled unconstitutional, de facto debtors' prisons still exist in the United States. Judges have wide discretion to jail people over unpaid court fees and other fines.

Michigan state courts recently changed their rules. Now judges have to assess defendants' ability to pay court fines before locking them up.

Learn more about current advocacy efforts to decriminalize poverty.

When Librarians Get Mad

When Librarians Get Mad

Read My Lips:  No New Tax Returns

Read My Lips: No New Tax Returns