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Race And Justice

Race & Justice

Structural discrimination and unjust policing, prosecution, and incarceration practices unfairly impact Black communities. Building a just system urgently demands reform.

The challenge

When we talk about race and justice, we're talking about the ways that discrimination, policing, prosecutions, and incarceration practices impact Black communities. 

Our criminal justice system is shaped by biased policing and unfair judicial precedents, rooted in anti-Blackness and racial disparity. The emotional, mental, physical, and financial impact on our communities is a tangible experience for millions of Black people in the U.S. The cost of an unjust justice system is high.

  • Black people are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites.
  • 65 percent of Black adults have felt targeted because of their race. Similarly, approximately 35 percent of Latino and Asian adults have felt targeted because of race.

What We're Fighting For

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Form a diverse and fair federal judiciary

We need a fair and balanced judiciary that reflects all aspects of the legal profession, especially those who've promoted equality in the civil and criminal justice systems. The number of former prosecutors and corporate attorneys who sit on the bench outnumber former civil rights lawyers and public defenders, creating a system that's skewed against individuals. This imbalance will last for decades without intervention.

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Eliminate racial and economic bias

To reform our justice system, we must address the structural inequities that allow people with lower incomes to be penalized in ways that wealthy people aren't. This systematically affects Black communities who continue to be over-policed, surveilled, harshly sentenced, and sent to prison in lieu of access to quality healthcare.

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End mass incarceration

The U.S. has the largest prison population in the world — 1 in 100 citizens is behind bars. When incarceration is used as the primary response to social problems, individuals, families and communities suffer. We need to shift resources from prisons to education and community development, eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenses, establish treatment for health issues, and end the death penalty.

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Dr. Jamie R. Riley

Director, Race & Justice

Dr. Riley leads our work to protect the rights and wellbeing of the Black community in the criminal justice system.

A published researcher and a critical race theorist, Dr. Riley investigates the systemic role of race and racism within American culture, systems, and institutions. He has worked as a racial justice and social change agent in higher education and non-profit administration for the past 15 years. 

Race & Justice Policies

When we see policies that unfairly target or penalize Black people in the criminal justice system, we must address these issues where they are — with laws and legislation, and with elected and appointed leaders. We provided policy recommendations to the Biden Administration to eliminate race-based discrimination in policing, courts, and incarceration.  

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The criminal justice system is heavily impacted by the bias of police mentality, as well as outdated judicial precedents. View this toolkit of facts and figures surrounding policing, the criminal justice system, incarceration, and more.

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