You’ve been arrested and the police took your wallet, cell phone, and keys. When you’re released, you need two pieces of I.D. to get your stuff back—but the police have your wallet. You don’t have anyone’s phone number or the keys to your home. What do you do?
For most of the 350,000 people arrested in New York City every year, getting arrested is just the beginning of a long and difficult process. Getting property back depends on how it was categorized by the police at the time of arrest, and each category requires a different set of steps, interactions with multiple players in law enforcement, and tight deadlines. The process is frustrating, drawn-out, and confusing, causing many people to give up on getting their property back. To make it all worse, there are no existing written guides helping people through this process.
CUP collaborated with The Bronx Defenders and designers L + L to create Get It Back!, a guide that helps New Yorkers who’ve recently been arrested get their stuff back. The illustrated guide breaks down the property seizure and civil forfeiture processes into detailed steps, including what to do when you’re arrested and after you’re released.
Get It Back! launched in January 2016 at The Bronx Defender’s offices as part of a series of events for their larger campaign pushing for transparency in the civil forfeiture process. The Bronx Defenders and their partners are distributing thousands of these guides throughout New York City from Property Clerk’s offices to courtrooms.
Get your copy of the booklet here.