The Justice Policy Institute’s research, briefs and resources offer guidance, background and context for why the U.S. must reduce our reliance on incarceration and implement policies that improve the well-being of all people and communities.President Obama stated: “The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but it doesn’t bend on its own. To secure the gains this country has made requires constant vigilance, not complacency. Whether it’s by challenging those who erect new barriers to the vote or ensuring that the scales of justice work equally for all in the criminal justice system and not simply a pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails – it requires vigilance.”
Rep Lewis stated: “The scars and stains of racism still remain deeply embedded in American society, whether it is stop and frisk in New York or injustice in [the] Trayvon Martin case in Florida, the mass incarceration of millions of Americans, immigrants hiding in fear in the shadow of our society, unemployment, homelessness, poverty, hunger or the renewed struggle for voting rights.”
President Bill Clinton added: “There remain racial inequalities in employment, income, health, wealth, incarceration, and in the victims and perpetrators of violent crime. But we don’t face beatings, lynchings and shootings for our political beliefs anymore.”
With the U.S. continuing to lead the world in its incarceration rates for adults and harsh sentencing policies for youth, we have a long way to go. Policy reform is desperately needed to address issues like use of private prisons, “Stand your Ground” laws, police deployment, effective representation in court, bail practices and overuse of secure confinement.
The Justice Policy Institute, based in Washington, DC, is working to reduce the use of incarceration and the justice system and promote policies that improve the well-being of all people and communities. For JPI reports visit our website at www.justicepolicy.org.