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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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New Report Documents Damaging Effects of Racial Profiling

September 27, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

Rights Working Group (RWG) has released a new report that documents the pervasive use of racial profiling in America and calls on all levels of government to ban "all forms of racial and religious profiling by law enforcement."

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Supporters Rally to Restore Voting Rights to Ex-Felons

September 17, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

The National Black Law Student Association (NBLSA) hosted a rally today at the University of the District of Columbia in support of legislation that would restore voting rights to ex-felons.

Speakers at the event included individuals affected by felony disenfranchisement; members of the NBLSA; Katherine S. Broderick, dean of the University of the District of Columbia's Law School; and representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Kimberly Haven, executive director of Justice Maryland, described the feeling of having her voting rights restored due to Maryland's Voting Registration Protection Act: "My vote is my voice. My voice is my power."

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National Black Law Student Association to Hold Rally for the Democracy Restoration Act

September 14, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

On September 17, the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) will hold a rally in support of the Democracy Restoration Act (DRA) of 2009 from 11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at the University of the District of Columbia.

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House Passes Bill to Create Commission to Study Crisis in the Criminal Justice System

July 29, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

The House of Representatives passed by voice vote on Tuesday a bill that will create a bipartisan, national commission to undertake a comprehensive review of the U.S. criminal justice system and make recommendations for reform.

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House Could Consider Legislation This Week to Reduce Crack and Cocaine Sentencing Disparity

July 27, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

UPDATE 2: President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act on August 3, 2010.

UPDATE: The House of Representatives passed the Fair Sentencing Act by voice vote on July 28, 2010. Read The Leadership Conference statement on the vote.

Advocates are calling on the House of Representatives to pass the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 this week, which would reform a law that created a sentencing disparity between powder and crack cocaine. Under current law, a person with five grams of crack cocaine – the weight of two sugar packets – receives the same five-year mandatory minimum sentence as someone with 500 grams of cocaine, which is about a pound.

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Civil Rights Leaders Urge Congress to Pass Legislation Banning Racial Profiling

July 12, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Civil and human rights leaders recently testified before a House subcommittee about the continuing problem of racial profiling in America and urged lawmakers to pass legislation outlawing the practice.

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Troy Davis Gets His Day in Court

June 22, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

Tomorrow, a Savannah federal district court will hold an evidentiary hearing to decide if death row inmate Troy Davis will get a new trial.

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Advocates Call for Anti-Drug Policies That Focus on Prevention

June 18, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

At a June 17 public policy forum on Capitol Hill sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance, scholars and civil rights advocates urged lawmakers to treat drug use as more of a public health problem than a criminal justice issue.  

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New Report Calls for Elimination of 'Prison-Based Gerrymandering'

June 16, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

The explosion of the prison population in recent decades is enabling towns where the prisons are located to unjustly increase their political power by counting inmates as legal residents, according to "Captive Constituents," a new report by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF).

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South Carolina Eliminates Crack/Powder Sentencing Disparity and Mandatory Minimums

June 10, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

South Carolina has enacted a new law overhauling the state's drug sentencing policy, eliminating sentencing disparities between powder and crack cocaine and removing mandatory minimum sentences for first-time offenders.

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