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.
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.
May 20, 2015 - Posted by Patrick McNeil
With communities across the country calling for greater accountability of local law enforcement, a coalition of 34 civil rights, privacy, and media rights organizations on May 15 released shared civil rights principles for the use of body-worn cameras.
April 24, 2015 - Posted by Patrick McNeil
Sen. Ben Cardin, D. Md., and Rep. John Conyers, D. Mich., on April 22 reintroduced the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA), which would prohibit profiling by federal, state, local, and Indian tribal law enforcement authorities on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
April 17, 2015 - Posted by Julie Faust
On April 15, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the need to reform civil asset forfeiture, a legal tool that has allowed law enforcement to seize $2.5 billion in cash from nearly 62,000 people without warrants or indictments since 2001.
March 19, 2015 - Posted by Julie Faust
On March 19, Rep. John Lewis, D. Ga., introduced the Voter Empowerment Act (H.R. 12), legislation that would combat voter exclusion, improve the administration of elections, and expand voter participation.
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
Latest on criminal justice from Unfinished Business.
A Blog by The Leadership Conference Education Fund
By John Hamilton, a Fall 2015 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern On November 1, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R. Wisc., made rounds on morning talk shows laying out his vision as the newly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. One t...
Earlier this week, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights shared a message from Terri Vest, who teaches 11th grade English, social studies, and online psychology courses at Twinfield Union School, a pre-K-12 school in Vermont.
Over the weekend, California became the first state to ban the use of a racist team name or mascot, a name that has come under pressure most visibly in the nation’s capital because of the name of the city’s professional football team. The California Racial Mascots Act, signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday, won the praise of the Change the Mascot campaign. In a joint statement from Jackie Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, and Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation Representative, the campaign praised California “for standing on the right side of history by bringing an end to the use of the demeaning and damaging R-word slur in the state’s schools.”
When Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson were nominated for Emmy’s this year in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category, they were only the sixth and seventh Black women to ever be nominated for that award.
When Davis accepted her first-ever Emmy Sunday night, she also became the first of those seven women to actually win. Her acceptance speech, one that invoked abolitionist Harriet Tubman, was a powerful reminder that, as Davis said, “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.”
In 1971, the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day” to commemorate the 1920 passage of the 19th amendment – guaranteeing women the right to vote – and to honor the brave women and men who fought for women’s suffrage. Today, on the 95th anniversary of the 19th amendment, the right to vote seems unalienable and fundamental to any democracy – but nearly 100 years ago, many Americans didn’t think women should have that right.
Early this July, six local transportation organizations from across the country gathered in D.C. for the Transportation Equity Caucus (TEC) first national equity convening – a two-day event of trainings, story-sharing, strategizing, and Hill visits with key transportation stakeholders. Each of the organizations in attendance —MORE2, Puget Sound Sage/Tacoma-Pierce County Equity Network, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, Urban Habitat, Services for Independent Living, and WISDOM—had received grants of up to $25,000 from TEC in April to support projects that advance affordable and accessible transportation in their communities, making this convening an opportunity to share successes, learn from each other, and plan for the months of advocacy ahead.
35 Years Later: The U.S. Still Hasn’t Ratified CEDAW, But Local Activists are Working to Make a Difference for Women and Girls
Though we’re sometimes regarded as an exemplar of human rights, the United States stands out internationally today for one disappointing – and shameful – reason.
That’s because 35 years after President Carter signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), an international human rights treaty intended to bring equality to women around the world, the United States still hasn’t ratified it.
By Hunter Davis, a Summer 2015 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern Earlier this month, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) held a briefing – and released a groundbreaking new report – on the cumulative costs of abusive lending, a ...
By Julia Burzynski, a Summer 2015 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern During the month of June, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights partnered with the Immigrant Heritage Month Campaign to celebrate and commemorate the history...
By Hunter Davis and Matthew Meyer, Summer 2015 Leadership Conference Education Fund Interns In a historic 5-4 decision on June 26, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. The ruling extended the rig...