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.
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.
February 8, 2011 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Last Thursday, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill to publicize the positive relationship between Arab-American communities and law enforcement.
February 4, 2011 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Controversial federal statute 287(g), an immigration policy that allows the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to delegate local authorities to enforce federal immigration laws, is doing more to harm than to help communities, according to a new report from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI).
Civil and Human Rights Coalition Urges Attorney General to Issue Prosecution Guidance on New Crack Cocaine Law
January 24, 2011 - Posted by Jeff Miller
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is urging Attorney General Eric Holder to "work with some urgency" toward issuing new sentencing guidelines to federal prosecutors in light of the passage last August of the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), which reduced the discriminatory sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenses.
December 3, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday in a case that concerns whether overcrowding in California prisons, which has led to grossly unsanitary conditions and inadequate access to medical and mental health care, warrants a court ordered reduction of nearly 40,000 prisoners within two years.
October 29, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
A recent study by the Center for Constitutional Rights found that the New York City Police Department has been conducting its stop-question-and-frisk policy in a manner consistent with racial profiling.
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
In The News
Recent news clips on this issue.