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The Detainee Support Net - Financial, Legal, Moral

A service that provides detainee support through micro-loans/gifts, a pro bono legal network, social network exposure, and moral support. This could be accomplished through detainee profile widgets incorporated into existing sites.

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Written by DeletedUser

This site allows families to tell their unique stories of detainment while giving them a network of financial, legal and moral support. The general layout is profile based and sortable/filterable on levels of region, days detained, name, etc. It's meant to be simple by providing each detainee's story along with four channels of support. 

Each profile will display the number of days they've been detained, a link to send their families money through micro-loans (or gifts), an email link to provide them with words of encouragement, and a legal network link that allows lawyers/students to collaborate on individual cases.

The legal collaboration-portal is a non-trivial part of this offering, which I've yet to mock up. In general, lawyers and students would create profiles and manage any cases where they see fit (lots of room here I know). 

The family portal allows family members to upload pictures, videos, and stories that represent their detainee's unique situation. It also provides them a channel of communication with their legal council and access to any funds donated. 

Each profile will also have the requisite links to social networks so visitors can pass along their stories.  

**update: Through some inspiration from Vincent and Anne-Laure and in an effort to integrate with existing networks of aid, the profile website could be broken down into profile widgets that could be incorporated with various websites using existing architecture to handle the channels of support.  

Several inspirations led to this. I probably would've simply added on to Festus's Food, Shelter & Clothing concept, but wanted to provide some additional services and visuals -   /open/amnesty/concepting/food-shelter-clothing/ - I also used a few of Margaret's great inspirations:

I've included the others at right, if there were some I missed please let me know!


**update -
Sparked by Kerry's Raising Empathy - Animated Series:
and her discussion about the importance of reunions and success stories, I added a "Released!" mock-up.

If anonymity is important or the family is unable to access the digital tools necessary to create their stories these widgets could also link to either Kerry's animations or Amanda's My Voice service: 

Angeliki's concept of crowd-sourcing for small tasks is also really great, so along with the legal support net the "Assist" service should also incorporate a micro-tasking network:


Refinement UPDATE:

I went ahead and mocked up a detainee profile widget just to see how it might look sitting on top of partner websites. You can check it out here:

I think it would be great if embedding a Support Net widget could be as easy as embedding a YouTube or Vimeo video in existing websites.

Generally, it seems there are a few ways to use the Support Net. One is to support individual detainees whose stories have been independently validated and who are actively seeking additional exposure to support their release. These are the high profile detainees and actually (question for Amnesty) I'm unclear how many of these types of cases exist. Another use would be to support an anonymous detained individual. These cases would also have to be validated for authenticity and may require additional administration in order to limit those involved in their support. These could be cases collected through services like Anne-Laure's Shift Van or through the support of local NGOs working in communities of risk. A service for tracking a Shift Van could also be offered, so those who feel uncomfortable completing a profile online can wait for assistance in their community. 


Finally though, this concept could be used in the short term to support established Amnesty Actions like:


In this case, the "donate" feature of the Support Net would utilize Amnesty's existing donate infrastructure and the "comfort" feature would link to the associated petitions.

As mentioned in the concept phase leveraging existing networks is an important function of the Support Net. There are concepts within this final round that would fit nicely into this support net. I can imagine the "donate" feature linking to Elliot's Sponsor a Spouse campaign and the "comfort" feature linking to Amanda's "Creating Connections" network. Until these are developed there are several existing networks for collecting donations or providing legal support. Through a bit of research I was able to find a couple great pro-bono networks:


And as suggested by the Cornell Life Link team, a national collegiate club could be established, giving law students the opportunity to work on specific cases.  

and services like:

Questions for Amnesty:
Is there enough demand for a site/service like the support net? How many high profile cases exist in any given time? How many anonymous and "verified" cases exist? Is there enough legal work for each case to keep a pro bono network engaged? 


What kind of resources are needed to get this idea off the ground and/or support it over time?

This is a fairly simple idea that probably requires extensive architecture. It seems there are five main pieces: - the detainee profiles main page - the legal collaboration offering - the family's story-building entry point - a method of communication between the legal team and family - and a donation handling service

Evaluation results

11 evaluations so far

1. Technological viability: Can this concept be developed using existing technological tools and at a relatively low cost, will it work in areas with a limited technology infrastructure?

The development of this concept would require minimal technological input and/or would work in low tech areas - 27.3%

The development of this concept would need some specialist technological input and/or may not work in low tech areas - 45.5%

The development of this concept would be a large undertaking and/or may require extensive technological resource and cost - 27.3%

2. Awareness raising and information sharing: Does this concept help to raise awareness/educate people on the issues of unlawful detention?

This is a concept that, alongside being an active and functional tool, also raises awareness and educates users - 90.9%

This is a concept that, while being an active and functional tool, does not educate or raise awareness - 9.1%

This is a concept that is good at raising awareness and educating, but is not an active and functional tool - 0%

3. Usability: Is this concept ‘friendly’ to a diverse range of user, including those with limited literacy and technological skills?

This concept is simple to use and can be used in low literacy areas with little to no technological knowledge - 27.3%

This concept may necessitate the user is confident with technology, but requires only medium-level literacy skills - 54.5%

This is a concept that requires both a high-level of literacy and technological knowledge from the user - 18.2%

4. Maintenance and continuation: Is this a concept that could be sustained over a long period of time?

This is a concept that could be updated easily and maintained by local communities after Amnesty has left the equation - 27.3%

This is a concept that might need further development at a later date and/or may need Amnesty or another party’s continued involvement in order to thrive - 72.7%

his is a concept with a limited shelf-life and would potentially need a significant maintenance during its life-span - 0%

5. Scalability: Is this concept practically applicable across multiple regions without extensive adaptation; will it be pertinent to a wide group of people affected by diverse issues?

This concept is practically applicable across geographies and will be useful to a wide number of people - 63.6%

This concept will need to be adapted to cover different regions, but will be useful to many people - 36.4%

This concept will need little to no adaptation for use in different regions, but will only be useful to a limited number of people - 0%

42 comments

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DeletedUser

Hi Jason + Amnesty team. What a cool idea!

I work in a low-tech environment (accessing this site is a minor miracle) and everything that requires getting online is a hassle. I saw a mobile access van proposed in the comments below as an alternative for low-tech environments. This is a great idea for a place like Australia, but what are alternatives for places in which open criticism of government is hazardous to one's health? How do families and supporters learn of resources and use them?

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Jason, thank you for this great idea! And congratulations on designing a winning concept. The Amnesty team particularly appreciated how your idea considers a broad range of support, not to mention gets around literacy challenges. Thank you for all of your hard work!

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Congratulations Jason. It is a great concept and very inclusive indeed. Looking forward to seeing prototypes coming out of a Hackday.

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DeletedUser

Thanks! Working with the OpenIDEO community is a real pleasure and I can't wait to see how each of these concepts are realized.

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Photo of Vincent Cheng

Congrats Jason! Well deserved: great idea, visualization, and prototype update.

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Photo of Paul Reader

Congratulations Jason! Well conceived and thought through concept that complements Amy's PACT and Amanda's Creating Connections, as well as interacting with Amjad's A-Z Guide and Nathan's Wiki. Looking forward to how Amnesty brings the whole thing together.

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Photo of Tom Hulme

I loved working through this concept with the Amnesty team yesterday. It made me wonder if we could build a Wordpress Blog theme pretty quickly that would enable people to set these microsites very easily independently.

At the moment there are c1400 Wordpress themes but I cant find any that are well set up for a missing person, you can see the existing Themes here: http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/

The Theme could easily incorporate a Day Counter as per your design

And it could incorporate a plugin to take Micropayments, e.g. http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/flattr/ or http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/mucash-micro-payments/

Some people have used Wordpress for this purpose, e.g. http://helpfindbriansullivan.com/ had there been a theme readily available they could have taken advantage of all of your fantastic designs

This concept would be a great input into a Hackday, the outcome could be made available to all through the Amnesty site and Wordpress...

Congratulations for leading such an important concept

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DeletedUser

Hi Tom, I think a free Wordpress Theme is a fantastic idea! It would be great to jump-start a missing person theme that incorporates existing plugins for micropayments. We could even open source the code for others to build on...I'd love to be involved in that Hackaday when it comes around!

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Photo of Vincent Cheng

Agreed, great springboard idea to get things moving Tom!

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Photo of Paul Reader

This is a well thought out concept that will potentially provide much needed support to detainees and families. It has elements in common with some other concepts and complements others. Adaptable to both high and low tech situations across a range of geographical locations it is well suited to leveraging resources that might be shared between Amnesty and other agencies too.

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DeletedUser

Making it personal to generate donations is a great idea. Could you tap into existing microfinance institutions to deliver the money to the aggrieved?

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DeletedUser

I know at my school, we already have a program that reaches out to inmates who are detained and provides them legal advice. But connecting it to human rights-sensitive cases I think would not only draw a lot of student interest at the law school but also provide a feasible way, with faculty supervision, to give effective legal support.

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DeletedUser

Hi Jason, my team "Life Link" really liked your idea and came up with some suggestions today while brainstorming at an event called "Hackathon" at Cornell University. Regarding the initial connection from the affected family to the site, we thought that it would be important for there to be a local community that the affected person could contact. NGOs around the world should be notified about this Amnesty-affiliated Support Net, and should regularly educate, or at least inform, their local communities or those at risk of being detained about this resource. Regarding the legal aid, we really liked the idea of the pro-bono and volunteer base. In addition, getting support from University Law Schools, or even creating a national club that could have branches at colleges across the nation would be good. This way you can build a support base from young people who really are interested in helping. We also were thinking of what would happen if those who had opposing ideas were to post or comment on the detainees profile. Just like a wiki, we thought it best that each comment can be rated or flagged, and those that have low ratings would be removed. The site would also be run by Amnesty, and in collaboration with each NGO specific to location of the detainee. For those who wanted to help, they could make a user profile and list their abilities and ways they can help. We thought it would be a good idea to have a live chat or at least some personal communication with the managers of the site in order to see where volunteers could best help. That summed up most of our main ideas, and if we think of any more I'll post them. Thanks for your great work, and we really want this solution to win!

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DeletedUser

Hi Princess Swan, happy to have the "Life Link" team on board! I really like the idea of a local contact for those people seeking support and definitely like the University club angle. I'll work those both into the offering. The commenting scenario is an interesting one...I wonder if giving the general population the ability to comment on cases will provide a net good?? Def. deserves some thought. I like your ideas about profiles for support providers, that portion of the concept does need more refining. Very nicely done, thanks for the great ideas!

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Hi, I think the idea of involving local NGOs to inform and educate about the Detainee support net is a great idea. This led to modify a bit the van concept and specifically mention the fact that local NGOs would educate people about the support net as well as the van. The van would also provide information about the support net, access to the website and help to access it.

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DeletedUser

I like this, maybe a "Track a Support Van" link on the Support Net for those who don't feel comfortable completing a profile online and who would like some assistance the next time a Van comes around.

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DeletedUser

Hey Jason! My group, "The A Team", have a few ideas for you!

First, we were thinking that you could have people submit videos in support of your website. They could be in the style of the "It Gets Better Project". This project became successful due to the support of celebrities and high-profile people. A few videos can go a long way. Our idea was to make a video that explained unlawful detainment and our personal feelings about the matter. The video can end with information about your website and how people can help. We can even have people read the stories of those who are detained! We thought that this would be a great way to reach out to the viral community.

Our next idea was how you could inform people about submitting a story. We created a format for a F.A.Q page that people can look at that will explain how to stay anonymous and still be heard. This could give them the information and comfort they need to assure them their safety in publishing their stories.

Another idea we have was a structure for how to collect the information from the families and collect and distribute the donations to the families. First, we propose that the families send their information to a safe third party, Amnesty International, for example, who would then make sure the information was secure, and upload the information on the website for them, so that the information is less likely to be directly traced back to them to preserve anonymity.
we;d also use this process as a screening or application process where the family could be somehow evaluated to help deter from freeloaders or fake cases from getting up to collect donations. Some criteria for judgement we thought could be police records, documentation, or missing person reports or simply credibility of story, since these things may not be present in even legitimate cases.
we also propose that the money be filtered through OFAC both coming from the donator and going to the family so that there is less chance of the money going to terrorist organizations. the money would also probably be sent through and distributed by amnesty international, for the same reasons of anonymity and safety.

Lastly, we thought of ways that you could reach out to the low-tech community. Using the idea of the amnesty van, you have that service go out to communities and allow people to access your site. We could also sell bumper stickers and hand out pamphlets explaining the website's services.

We have prototypes all of these ideas, and I can post them for you if you are interested! Great job and good luck with your refinement!

-"The A Team"
Wells College Innovation Lab




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DeletedUser

Hey Emily, you and The A Team rock! I would absolutely love to see the prototypes. I really like the idea of promoting the service using videos and definitely think reading the stories of detainees would be a great way to bring them to life. I've been thinking a lot about the anonymity aspect and would really like to see what you guys came up with in the FAQs. Publishing their stories will be a big step and giving them the assurance of safety will be super important.

I agree, it seems a third party administrator will be necessary to ensure the security and validity of the information provided. I like the idea of a central financial clearing house to make sure we don't fund the wrong folks.

I also think the Shift Van would be perfect for both providing access to the site and collecting the stories and contact details.

Nice work guys, can't wait to see the prototypes!

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DeletedUser

Here are our prototypes!

First is a drawing of the F.A.Q layout. You can fill it in with whatever relevant subjects you think are necessary, but this is our idea of how it can flow:

file:///Users/emulkerne/Downloads/IMAG0124.jpg

Next is the OFAC concept. These are physical and written layouts:

file:///Users/emulkerne/Downloads/IMAG0125.jpg
file:///Users/emulkerne/Downloads/IMAG0126.jpg

Let me know if the links to work. I hope these can be of some use to you! Best of luck!

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DeletedUser

Hi Emily, it looks like these files are on a local (to Wells College) server. Anyway you can post them in a publicly accessible location? Can't wait to see them!

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Jason, I really liked the prototype of the widget. I'm working on developing the shift van concept to "make sure" that wireless is an option. I agree with you that developing the support net not only for "high profiles" is important. It might be interesting to understand how Amnesty is currently collecting (and verifying) various cases.

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Photo of Paul Reader

Hi Jason,
I know its a little off topic but I thought I would share this while its fresh in my mind. Here in Australia we have a questionable practice of detaining refugees/asylum seekers, often for long periods and sometimes with tragic outcomes. The Australian media tends to focus on the Australian impact eg reporting the approach or arrival of another boatload of "illegal immigrants" or on the sensational outcome such as when a detainee commits suicide (in one case I believe about 3 days before being officially granted asylum). Getting the stories of these people (including families) into public consciousness through concepts such as yours would, in my opinion, be a good thing too.

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DeletedUser

Hi Paul, thanks for the anecdote. I agree, it sounds like these cases definitely push the boundaries of human rights and detention. Maybe they could fall under the Amnesty Actions example I gave in the update...where a specific cause is supported through signing a petition or writing a political leader. Thanks!

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DeletedUser

Refinement UPDATE 1 - added a profile widget mock-up and a bit more idea fleshing. The method to gather and verify/validate detainee stories still needs to be worked out. Would love to hear ideas from the community!

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DeletedUser

Hey Jason. Glad to see you in the Refinement Phase!! Congrats!

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DeletedUser

Thanks! Back at ya!

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DeletedUser

Congrats Jason! I´m so glad you are still around!

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DeletedUser

Thanks! Me too!

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Hi Jason, Thank you for your lovely concept and sketches! Congratulations on being part of our shortlist. During the refinement phase we ask that you iterate on your concept and consider some challenge issues such as how might we design such a platform for anonymity, to protect those at risk? How might we avoid funding the wrong causes on this platform?

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DeletedUser

Hi Jason!
Once again congrats on a great concept. I really enjoy how you focus on the support network for the families of a detainee, in a Net kind of system. I can imagine that many people unlawfully detained from an impoverished country will be completely lost in terms of where to ask for help, how etc etc. You seem to have thought of the many ways to provide them support.

One thing that came to mind was related to Anne Laure's comment below about low tech implementation of this idea. Firstly and unfortunately many of the families of detainees might not have access to any kind of technology, and might need to be taught how to use this service; and secondly my last thought was that many residents of impoverished and un-educated communities might not even know how to read or write making it a long process until they can become comfortable users of a social network. But of course with tools of support and education systens in place, this would become possible if it were the case .
Congrats again !

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DeletedUser

Thanks Ana! I agree it could use some form of outreach program. Maybe something like the ThinkTank inspiration you mentioned?? A little pod that travels around and assists families creating these profiles?

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DeletedUser

Hi Jason !
Yes yes yes! That sounds like a great integration into this concept. I think your concept is very strong and touches on crucial things, so we don't wont any affected families to miss out on it's advantages and possibilities, so there should def be some kind of outreach program like you call it! Maybe Amnesty International Volunteers could be involved with this to start off.

Super, I love it!

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Photo of Paul Reader

Without first-hand experience it is difficult to conceive all the possible variations in circumstance but I imagine that some of these families and groups are developing their own social support networks (especially morale support). This concept provides a series of layers to be applied as required and I wonder if the outreach could capitalise on the 'Six Degrees' of connection to develop layers appropriate to each situation.
Again I imagine that while families understand that there are others in similar circumstnces it would be of some comfort for them to know that lessons learned elsewhere may be adapted and applied to assist them too.

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Photo of Vincent Cheng

Well done Jason! Can see how this could attract & match potential funders, legal help, etc. And your illustrations really help with understanding the concept.

I guess one thing is to figure out how to publicize to both detainees/families and potential 3rd party helpers.Pre-existing networks like Amnesty international, human rights lawyers associations, law schools, etc. may be a good place to start.

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Very nice indeed. Jason, I like how you take into account the family and their needs - financial and legal support - but also create public awareness through the sharing of stories.
To Vincent's point, I think that integrating this in pre-existing networks is a great idea.
Still about publicizing and facilitating access, I'm wondering if all families would have access to the internet, and to some of the current pre-existing networks. That might not be in the realm of this concept, but it might be nice to think of how to create ways of accessing such services.

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DeletedUser

Hey Vincent and Anne, excellent call, I totally agree it should use existing networks...it actually makes me think, maybe these little stories could be widgets?? They could be integrated into existing sites floating at the top or sides...and I think Haiyan mentioned somewhere about spreading the word through Ad Networks, maybe they could be mini ads for support? Thanks for the spark!!

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Photo of Christine Hendrickson

Hi Jason, this is a great idea--I like the notion of building a comprehensive platform. Going back to what Meena mentioned about anonymity, you might create a password protected portion of the site (forgive me if you've already addressed this issue). While families can make the decision to be open about the case of their relative being unlawfully detained, we might put the "supporters" of the case at risk by creating an open system. Is there a way for supporters to support without doing so publicly? Does support have to be transparent? Great idea, nice work.

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DeletedUser

Thanks Christine! I really like the idea of giving those who help the detainee the option of anonymity. I'll add it to the network section here...it's such a simple way to ease the risk. Thanks!

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Congrats on this post being today's onsite Featured Concept!

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DeletedUser

Thanks!

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DeletedUser

Hi Jason!
Awesome concept! :) ... Anne-Laure sent me oyur concept ´cause she found that we can join forces! I also have a similar sinergy with a law firm,,have a look to my concept and if you don´t mind we can build interesting things about profiling and networking...
Have a nice day..

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Photo of stuart morse

I like the concept as a one stop shop. I would add an action element. For example, people could take action against the country or government by understanding what fuels their economy. A visitor could then make decisions around boycotting products or services from the country coupled with a message to the country around the "why". The power of numbers could make an impact.