ADVOCACY ISSUE - Criminal Justice Reform
Working with communities to dismantle our racialized criminal justice system.
Every stage of the U.S. criminal justice system, from policing to prosecution to sentencing, imprisonment, and reentry is deeply racialized, and extreme in its harshness. The U.S. is without global peer in how many people it puts behind bars, and for how long. And the U.S. criminal justice system works to keep a person imprisoned long after they leave confinement, be it through exorbitant legal financial obligations or by making a criminal record a barrier to housing or employment. While our juvenile court system is supposed to prioritize rehabilitation and care for justice-involved youth, their facilities end up simply serving as “mini jails.” All of these consequences fall disproportionately on people of color.
Columbia Legal Services works for communities to dismantle our racialized criminal justice system. We believe that the poor shouldn’t face harsher punishment than the rich. We work to ensure that people who are returning home after imprisonment should have a chance to find work, a job, and care for their health and for their families.