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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A Blog by The Leadership Conference Education Fund
By John Hamilton, a Fall 2015 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern On November 1, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R. Wisc., made rounds on morning talk shows laying out his vision as the newly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. One t...
Earlier this week, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights shared a message from Terri Vest, who teaches 11th grade English, social studies, and online psychology courses at Twinfield Union School, a pre-K-12 school in Vermont.
Over the weekend, California became the first state to ban the use of a racist team name or mascot, a name that has come under pressure most visibly in the nation’s capital because of the name of the city’s professional football team. The California Racial Mascots Act, signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday, won the praise of the Change the Mascot campaign. In a joint statement from Jackie Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, and Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation Representative, the campaign praised California “for standing on the right side of history by bringing an end to the use of the demeaning and damaging R-word slur in the state’s schools.”
When Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson were nominated for Emmy’s this year in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category, they were only the sixth and seventh Black women to ever be nominated for that award.
When Davis accepted her first-ever Emmy Sunday night, she also became the first of those seven women to actually win. Her acceptance speech, one that invoked abolitionist Harriet Tubman, was a powerful reminder that, as Davis said, “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.”
In 1971, the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day” to commemorate the 1920 passage of the 19th amendment – guaranteeing women the right to vote – and to honor the brave women and men who fought for women’s suffrage. Today, on the 95th anniversary of the 19th amendment, the right to vote seems unalienable and fundamental to any democracy – but nearly 100 years ago, many Americans didn’t think women should have that right.
Early this July, six local transportation organizations from across the country gathered in D.C. for the Transportation Equity Caucus (TEC) first national equity convening – a two-day event of trainings, story-sharing, strategizing, and Hill visits with key transportation stakeholders. Each of the organizations in attendance —MORE2, Puget Sound Sage/Tacoma-Pierce County Equity Network, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, Urban Habitat, Services for Independent Living, and WISDOM—had received grants of up to $25,000 from TEC in April to support projects that advance affordable and accessible transportation in their communities, making this convening an opportunity to share successes, learn from each other, and plan for the months of advocacy ahead.
35 Years Later: The U.S. Still Hasn’t Ratified CEDAW, But Local Activists are Working to Make a Difference for Women and Girls
Though we’re sometimes regarded as an exemplar of human rights, the United States stands out internationally today for one disappointing – and shameful – reason.
That’s because 35 years after President Carter signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), an international human rights treaty intended to bring equality to women around the world, the United States still hasn’t ratified it.
By Hunter Davis, a Summer 2015 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern Earlier this month, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) held a briefing – and released a groundbreaking new report – on the cumulative costs of abusive lending, a ...
By Julia Burzynski, a Summer 2015 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern During the month of June, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights partnered with the Immigrant Heritage Month Campaign to celebrate and commemorate the history...
By Hunter Davis and Matthew Meyer, Summer 2015 Leadership Conference Education Fund Interns In a historic 5-4 decision on June 26, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. The ruling extended the rig...