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 31, 2014 - Posted by Patrick McNeil
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted to advance the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2014, legislation introduced by Sens. Dick Durbin, D. Ill., and Mike Lee, R. Utah, that would begin to stem the tide of persons incarcerated for long drug sentences and reduce the associated costs of incarceration.
November 21, 2013 - Posted by Hannah Cornfield
With more than two million people behind bars in the United States, Blacks incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of Whites, and 95 percent of the formerly incarcerated reentering their communities, civil rights advocates say our nation’s criminal justice system is in serious need of reform.
DOJ Announces 'Smart on Crime' Initiative to Address Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System
August 12, 2013 - Posted by Tyler Lewis
This morning in a speech before the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the U.S. Department of Justice would avoid charging low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who are not tied directly to large-scale trafficking organizations, gangs, or cartels with crimes that carry mandatory minimum sentencing.
March 21, 2013 - Posted by Monica We
This week marks the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the landmark Supreme Court decision establishing that under the Constitution states are required to provide a lawyer to criminally charged defendants who cannot otherwise afford one.
March 21, 2013 - Posted by Philomena Ogalo
With the passage last week of a bill to repeal the death penalty, Maryland will become the sixth state to end capital punishment in the last six years and the first below the Mason-Dixon Line.
Supreme Court Says Mandatory Life Sentences without Parole for Juvenile Offenders Are Cruel and Unusual Punishment
June 26, 2012 - Posted by Willie Roberson
On June 25th, the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences without parole for offenders who were younger than 18 when their crimes were committed violate the Constitution’s 8th Amendment provision prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment.
Civil Rights Groups and Conservative Leaders Urge FCC to End Practice of Predatory Prison Phone Rates
May 21, 2012 - Posted by Avril Lighty
April 28, 2012 - Posted by Ron Bigler
September 16, 2011 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
At a press conference this week designed to push Congress and the Obama administration to pass the End Racial Profiling Act of 2011 (ERPA), the Rights Working Group released a new report advocating not only for the prohibition of racial profiling but for greater oversight of law enforcement with regard to civil rights protections.
July 29, 2011 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Earlier this week at its 102nd Annual Convention in Los Angeles, the NAACP issued a resolution entitled, “A Call to End the War on Drugs, Allocate Funding to Investigate Substance Abuse Treatment, Education, and Opportunities in Communities of Color for A Better Tomorrow.” While the text of the resolution will not be available until its national board approves it in October, a press statement following the vote criticized the drug war as discriminatory, costly, and counterproductive.
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
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