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Resolution

Crime and Justice

WHEREAS, in just over four decades, the number of people incarcerated in America has increased nearly five-fold, from roughly 500,000 to 2.3 million; and

WHEREAS, the average prison stay in the United States is two years, with more than 600,000 people returning home from prison each year; and

WHEREAS, over half of the nation's prisoners are persons of color and incarcerated for non-violent offenses; and

WHEREAS, with the limited opportunities for employment or support, many ex­-offenders cycle back into prison after committing new crimes; and

WHEREAS, America spends $70 billion a year on its prisons, while dollars for prevention, treatment, education, and services to deal with the challenges that lead individuals to crime and imprisonment in the first place remain inadequate or non-existent; and

WHEREAS, serious and violent criminals comprise only a small portion of the extraordinary expenditures on prisons and jails; and

WHEREAS, a national survey of prison wardens revealed that half of their prisoners could be discharged at no greater perceived threat to public safety.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the leaders of the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics conduct a study on the racially and ethnically disparate impact of the field of crime and justice as it relates to families and communities of color, and provide recommendations to the challenges found; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls upon state legislatures to convene criminal justice task forces to enact provisions to substantially reduce their correctional populations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP reaffirms its 1997 resolution addressing the disproportionate numbers of African Americans in the prison population, largely as a result of the sentencing disparity between crack and cocaine; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP reaffirms its 1989 resolution addressing the disproportionate numbers of African Americans in the prison population, largely as a result of a deficiency in sufficient legal representation for these individuals; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP will engage local law enforcement agencies on the topic of the incarceration of African American and Latino youth, with the goal of ensuring due process in handling of detention as well as to prevent the harassment of people of color in public places; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP supports public audits of policies in schools, city, county, and state governments which identify policies responsible for the over incarceration of juveniles and adults; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls upon all states to replicate the practice of providing advisory pre-sentencing economic impact sanctioning statements; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP will work in low-income communities and communities of color to engage in re-entry work focused on the youth and families impacted by incarceration, while advocating for services needed during the re-entry process including education, jobs and entrepreneurial programs, and healthcare; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls upon the prison system to identify best practices or blueprints of programs, to support the re-entry process of formerly incarcerated individuals, which should address:

(A) The transferring of medical records immediately following the release of these individuals; and with specific documentation of the presence or absence of major killers and cripplers: heart disease, stroke, mental health disease/illnesses, cancer, liver disease, lung disease, diabetes, HIV, sickle cell anemia and other blood disorders, communicable diseases/illnesses; and

(B) The medicinal needs and ensures an adequate supply, as well as provide a referral list of physicians and health-care providers in their community; and

(C) The accessibility of medical, vision, dental and mental health services for these individuals; and

(D)The accessibility of health-care. education, and employment, as well as provide a list of willing employers to these individuals; and

(E) Drug rehabilitation.

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