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In Support of Restorative Justice to Address Mass Incarceration and the High School Drop-Out Rate in the United States

WHEREAS, the NAACP recognizes that mass incarcerations in jails and prisons across the country are exacting an intolerable human, political, social, educational, and economic price on individuals, families and communities; and


WHEREAS, mass incarceration has led to a disproportionate representation of African-Americans and other people of color in jails and prisons; and


WHEREAS, mass incarceration has not been accompanied by a proportionate increase in safety and security; and


WHEREAS, the fact of 50-75% recidivism rates, (re-arrest and re-incarceration), lead to the inescapable conclusion that incarceration does not serve to rehabilitate offenders or deter criminal activity; and


WHEREAS, Restorative Justice has proven to be effective in reducing recidivism, improving community safety, increasing victim healing and satisfaction and lowering the costs of crime and criminal justice; and


WHEREAS, Restorative Justice is a response to offenses which requires offenders to accept responsibility for their offense, be willing to meet with their victims, or a victim advocate if the victim is unwilling, and affected members of the community, and do what the parties agree can reasonably be done to repair the harm; and


WHEREAS, Restorative Justice empowers victims, offenders and communities to restore relationships and helps to re-integrate offenders into their communities, and


WHEREAS, the NAACP has a vital interest in ending mass incarceration, reducing recidivism, assisting victims, reducing costs in the justice system and building safer, more cohesive communities and is convinced that the use of Restorative Justice as a preferred method of responding to offenses will help to accomplish those goals; and


WHEREAS, the NAACP recognizes that high school graduation rates for African- Americans and other people of color in many communities are less than 50%, that high school drop-outs are more likely to work in low income jobs, become unemployed, require public assistance, become involved in criminal activity and be incarcerated; and


WHEREAS, Restorative Justice has proven to be a successful alternative to suspensions and expulsions for school misconduct, thereby reducing the high school drop-out rate and breaking the cycle of poverty and incarceration.


THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP reaffirms its 2007 Restorative Justice Resolution; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP urges the adoption of Restorative Justice in schools and in all jurisdictions, local, state and federal; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP urges all inmates receive entry-level training as provided by the Carl Perkins Workforce Development Act before release from prison; and


BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP include Restorative Justice as part of its "Smart and Safe" Program, urge all of its units to call upon their legislators and school board members to adopt Restorative Justice principles and practices in criminal justice systems and school districts in every state and community as stated herein.