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.
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.
June 6, 2011 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has endorsed a limited form of retroactive application of sentencing guidelines designed to take into account the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), which reduced the discriminatory sentencing disparity between powder cocaine and crack cocaine offenses.
May 25, 2011 - Posted by Tyler Lewis
A group of seven prominent national civil rights organizations that includes The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to support the retroactive application of a new set of sentencing guidelines that accompany the implementation of the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), which reduced the discriminatory sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenses.
May 24, 2011 - Posted by Avril Lighty
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that overcrowding in California prisons, which has led to grossly unsanitary conditions and inadequate access to medical and mental health care, violates constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.
March 28, 2011 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Employers are discriminating against millions of Americans with criminal records, according to a report from the National Employment Law Project (NELP).
Department of Justice Investigation Reveals Racial, LGBT, and Gender-Biased Policing by the New Orleans Police Department
March 23, 2011 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Use of excessive force, racial and ethnic profiling, and under-enforcement of violence against women are just a few of several constitutional and federal law violations made by the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), according to a report recently released by the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.
March 10, 2011 - Posted by Tyler Lewis
Civil and human rights groups again condemned today's anti-Muslim hearings in the House Committee on Homeland Security, chaired by Rep. Peter King, R. N.Y.
Civil Rights Coalition Urges Cancellation of Anti-Muslim Hearings, Releases Report on Racial Profiling
March 8, 2011 - Posted by Tyler Lewis
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is calling on Rep. Peter King, R. N.Y., to cancel a hearing scheduled for Thursday on "radicalization of the American Muslim community and homegrown terrorists." The hearing is a "disservice to the seriousness of the topic of 'domestic terrorism,'" the coalition said.
February 17, 2011 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
A report recently released by an Illinois state government commission examines the impact of state drug laws on minority communities and recommends possible solutions to the overrepresentation of Blacks and Latinos within the state criminal justice system.
February 10, 2011 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
The Council of State Governments Justice Center recently released recommendations on lowering crime rates, reincarceration and corrections spending.
The National Summit on Justice Reinvestment and Public Safety focuses on providing solutions for a correctional system in crisis. The U.S. prison and jail population reached a record 2.3 million in 2008. More than seven million people, or one in every 31 Americans, are under some form of correctional control, with rates substantially higher in minority populations. Corrections spending is one of the fastest growing line items in state budgets, second only to medical care. Despite this, rates of recidivism remain unchanged, with almost 40 percent of released prisoners returning to jail within three years.
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.
In The News
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