Criminalization of Race and Poverty

Criminalization of poverty has increased significantly in the U.S. since the Great Recession of 2009. Poor and low-income people, especially people of color, face a far greater risk of being targeted, profiled, fined, arrested, harassed, violated and incarcerated for minor offenses than other Americans. A broken taillight, an unpaid parking ticket, a minor drug offense, sitting on a sidewalk, or sleeping on a park can all result in jail time.

The criminalization of poor people happens at the intersectional oppressions of race, class, gender and gender identity. The criminalization of children is especially inhumane and disproportionality affects low-income Latinx and Black children, LGBTQI children and children with disabilities. The school-to-prison pipeline is a significant factor in removing opportunities for self-fulfillment, education and employment, often creating and perpetuating poverty.

By conducting research and reports on the various components of these injustices, and supporting movements on the ground with resources and capacity, the Criminalization of Poverty project aims to encourage and influence policy that will move us from intersectional injustice into intersectional justice.

Latest Work

wheelchair

No Country for People with Disabilities

Trump wants to slash $610 billion from Medicaid — on top of the $800 billion the House wants to cut in repealing Obamacare. That will be devastating for people with disabilities.
parent-child

The Gratifying Challenges of Mothering a Trans Child

Mothering a transgender child several years before there was any public understanding of what makes a baby transgender is a mountain most mothers hope they don't have to climb. But mothers don't have the luxury of staying confused.
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The Moms Fighting for Their Kids Behind Bars

For the mothers of the 54,000 children incarcerated in this country — the most of any in the world — Mother's Day rings in an acute pain.
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The Worst Thing About Sessions? Everything We Already Knew.

What could Sessions have talked to the Russian ambassador about that could compare to his atrocious record on civil rights?

Why Is Trump Discriminating Against My Transgender Child?

Trump's White House revoked Title IX protections of transgender students.
America failing its schools

With DeVos, We're Likely to See a Charter School to Prison Pipeline

We need to get cops out of schools and invest in an accountable public education system, IPS' Karen Dolan told the Real News Network.

With DeVos Confirmation, Expect Charter School to Prison Pipeline

We could see a deepening of the racial punishment gap for schoolchildren.
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Calling Working People of All Colors

The economic concerns of the white working class and people of color are more alike than different.

Black Girls Are Criminalized for Choosing Survival

Our legal system has failed to protect young girls' right to self defense.
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The Bad News about Good Census Numbers

Despite better numbers, the latest census data leaves much to be desired for closing the racial wage, wealth, and opportunity gaps in the United States.
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Candidates Need to Fall in Line With Queerer, Browner Electorate

Support of civil and human rights will drive the millennial voice in the upcoming presidential election.
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Another Black Man Left to Die in the Streets

Shooting after shooting, police deny black lives even the most basic human concern that could've saved them.
Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton Should Hit the Road for Criminal Justice Reform

If Hillary win this November, Bill Clinton would have the unique opportunity to right the wrongs of his administration.
School Desk

Students, Not Criminals

Punitive school policies are funneling children – especially African-Americans – out of the classroom and into jail cells.
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My Mother, Stopped for Driving While Black

When the police pulled their guns on my middle-aged mom, a white motorist pulled up to tell them what a good job they were doing.
Black Lives Matter protest

Death by Traffic Stop

Black people are twice as likely to be pulled over as whites — and three times more likely to experience the use of force afterward.
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The Movement for Black Lives Will Not Be Criminalized

Under the guise of protecting police, laws are being enacted that are nothing more than attempts to censor and criminalize political resistance and protests of police violence.
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Who's Profiting From America's Private Juvenile Prisons?

One mother's fight to shut down a private juvenile corrections facility in Louisiana known for its brutality and big profits.
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African Americans Are Still Treated as Second-Class Citizens By the Law

The infamous Dred Scott Supreme Court ruling once denied African Americans any and all rights as human beings. Has anything changed?
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From Mamie Till to Tarsha Jackson, Mothers Continue the Fight for Juvenile Justice

Emmett Till's mother brought awareness to America's failed, racist justice system over 60 years ago. Today, mothers are still at the forefront of the fight for justice for their children and all children.
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Reports

Report: Mothers at the Gate

A movement of family members is developing around the country that aims to challenge both the conditions in which their loved ones are held and the fact of mass incarceration itself.
Jailed man gripping prison bars

The Poor Get Prison: The Alarming Spread of the Criminalization of Poverty

This report provides a new understanding of the growing ways in which those in poverty are disproportionately targeted, marginalized, and prosecuted.

In the News

Mother Of A Transgender Child Speaks Out

Rising Up with Sonali | February 28, 2017

Think Tanks to Supreme Court

Hamilton College | October 20, 2016

Government Fees That Perpetuate Poverty

Acton Institute | July 8, 2016

Mothers Driving Change in Juvenile Justice System

Public News Service | May 11, 2016

Louisiana Moms Fight for Justice for Imprisoned Youth

Soundbite Services | May 11, 2016

Mothers Fight for Reform

Public News Service | May 9, 2016

A Mother's Day Visit at Prison

Public News Service | May 6, 2016

Mother’s Day: Voices of Mothers of Incarcerated Youth

Institute for Public Accuracy | May 4, 2016

We Are All Greeks Now

Truthdig | July 12, 2015