Criminal Justice System
The United States has the largest prison population of any developed country in the world. A disproportionate number of people in the nation’s prisons and jails are low-income, undereducated, low-level, nonviolent people of color with drug convictions. Our system of mass incarceration is due almost entirely to the War on Drugs and its disproportionate focus on low-income, people of color. The system must be reformed so that it is no longer racially and ethnically discriminatory and incorporates more alternatives to incarceration.
January 25, 2016 - Posted by Julie Faust
The Supreme Court ruled Monday in the case of Montgomery v. Louisiana that anyone sentenced to life imprisonment for murder as a juvenile must have a chance to argue for parole.
January 12, 2016 - Posted by Patrick McNeil
The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved by voice vote the bipartisan Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 3406), a bill introduced by Reps. James Sensenbrenner, R. Wisc., and Danny Davis, D. Ill., to reauthorize the Second Chance Act.
December 22, 2015 - Posted by Patrick McNeil
On December 18, President Obama commuted the sentences of 95 individuals and granted pardons to two, marking the highest number of commutations he has granted at one time and more than doubling his total since taking office. Obama has now granted 184 commutations, which is more than the last five presidents combined.
December 17, 2015 - Posted by Patrick McNeil
On December 15, the U.S. Department of Justice released new guidance for combatting gender bias in law enforcement response to sexual and domestic violence.
November 3, 2015 - Posted by Patrick McNeil
The White House on Monday unveiled new measures to ease the re-entry process for formerly incarcerated people, an announcement that marks a continuation of the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce incarceration’s collateral effects. One of those efforts is the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recent vote on a proposal to cap exorbitant prison calling rates and fees for in-state calls.
November 2, 2015 - Posted by Patrick McNeil
In Newark, N.J., on Monday, President Obama announced a series of measures designed to help the re-entry process for formerly incarcerated people.
October 22, 2015 - Posted by Patrick McNeil
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday advanced the bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (S. 2123) by a 15-5 vote, proving to Chairman Chuck Grassley, R. Iowa, that the Senate “can thoughtfully address the most serious and complex matters in prison sentencing.”
October 2, 2015 - Posted by Patrick McNeil
A bipartisan group of senators on October 1 – including Sens. Chuck Grassley, R. Iowa; Dick Durbin, D. Ill.; Patrick Leahy, D. Vt.; Sheldon Whitehouse, D. R.I.; John Cornyn, R. Texas; Mike Lee, R. Utah; Chuck Schumer, D. N.Y.; Cory Booker, D. N.J.; Lindsay Graham, R. S.C.; and Tim Scott, R. S.C. – introduced the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, a major criminal justice reform package aimed at reducing some mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders and curbing recidivism.
August 27, 2015 - Posted by Patrick McNeil
Surrounded by a national conversation about police brutality and law enforcement’s treatment of minorities, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh on August 25 issued guidance designed to ban discriminatory profiling by law enforcement on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity.
June 22, 2015 - Posted by Matthew Meyer
On June 16, the Senate rejected an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to restructure the military criminal justice system’s handling of sexual assault cases. The amendment, proposed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D. N.Y., incorporated provisions of the Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA), which the Senate also rejected as a standalone bill in March 2014.
More Information On
Social Justice Brief: A Social Work Perspective on Drug Policy Reform - National Association of Social Workers
Reclaiming Our Rights: Reflections on Racial Profiling in a Post-9/11 America - Rights Working Group (2011)
The Changing Racial Dynamics of the War on Drugs - The Sentencing Project
A 25-Year Quagmire: The War on Drugs and Its Impact on American Society - The Sentencing Project
Critical Condition: African American Youth in the Justice System (pdf) - Campaign for Youth Justice
In The News
Recent news clips on this issue.