NYE Noise Demo Outside of Richmond Jail


A few hours before midnight, about two dozen protesters held a noise demonstration outside of the Richmond City Justice Center where the city’s jail is located.

This annual event in Richmond happens every December 31st, going back a few years. The focus of the event is for the demonstrators to provide the people held inside the jail the opportunity experience New Year’s Eve with loud noises. Pots and pans, firecrackers, instruments, and even a boombox playing NWA made loud noises.

As the noise demo continued, gunfire could be heard from the nearby Mosby Court. Celebratory gunfire is a crime and something that Richmond Police made a point of emphasis on social media.

Jails, unlike prisons, tend to have the majority of their inmate populations who have not been convicted of a crime. According to the Prison Policy Institute, 69% of people held in county and city jails are awaiting trial with the medium bond of $10,000. Also, according to the Virginia Sentencing Commission, people in Virginia with private lawyers are more likely to be released pretrial compared to those with public defenders even though people with public defenders are more likely to be not convicted.

Noise demonstrators outside of jails is a national phenomenon. Anarchists and prison abolitionists have been holding noise demos for decades as the amount of people held in jails has sharply increased. The number of demonstrations outside of jails grew after the 2020 summer protests after the murder of George Floyd.

Demonstrations outside of jails isn’t limited to just the left. The most well-known and frequent examples are in Washington DC outside the District of Columbia Jail (or DC Jail) for the “Freedom Corner.” There are nightly vigils for people held for their alleged crimes when storming the Capitol on January 6. The Freedom Corner’s vigils denounce the horrible conditions of the DC Jail that holds Trump supporters before their trials. The conditions that they endure are similar to anyone else held pretrial in the jail.

Demonstrations outside of jails continue with the freedom to assemble and make noise even though the people inside do not have that freedom while waiting for their right to a trial.

Read more from Goad Gatsby HERE

Goad Gatsby

Goad Gatsby

A journalist from Richmond and contributor on Open Source RVA on WRIR 97.3FM.

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