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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

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.

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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.

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Anti-Death Penalty Advocates Celebrate Maryland Victory, Prepare for Next States

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.

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Sen. Leahy Introduces Bill to Uphold the Promise of Gideon v. Wainright Ruling

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.

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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.

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Civil Rights Groups and Conservative Leaders Urge FCC to End Practice of Predatory Prison Phone Rates

May 21, 2012 - Posted by Avril Lighty

With a joint letter and a press call, civil rights groups and conservative leaders have united to urge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reform prison phone rates.

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Monitor Weekly - The Latest in Civil and Human Rights

April 28, 2012 - Posted by Ron Bigler

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Legislators and Civil Rights Groups Call on Congress to End Racial Profiling

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.

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NAACP Issues Call to End the Drug War

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.

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Attorney General Holder Pursues Fairness in Crack Cocaine Cases

July 21, 2011 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Federal prosecutors will no longer charge crack cocaine defendants under a previous and more punitive law simply because their conduct predated the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), Attorney General Eric Holder announced in a memorandum last week

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