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

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Congress Must Deliver COVID-19 Relief

Where is the concern for the families of the more than 215,000 Americans who have lost their lives to the coronavirus?
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Trump Looks Out For Himself While Americans Struggle

As American lives hang in the balance, Trump enjoys $100,000 worth of cutting edge treatment for his COVID-19 infection.
trump and mitch mcconnell at the white house

This Is a Recession. Republicans Need to Stop Blocking Relief.

Prioritizing evidence-based virus safety measures means more than wearing masks and practicing social distancing. It means passing a robust relief package.
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This Is an Emergency: Americans Need Relief, and Trump Is Standing in the Way

The president just benefited from lifesaving, taxpayer-funded measures. He has no business blocking Americans from getting the same.
trump after being treated for coronavirus

Trump Gets Socialized Health Care. What About the Rest of Us?

The president has free access to the best medical care in the world. There’s no reason why the rest of America shouldn’t get what their taxes pay for.
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Reimagining School Safety Resolution Toolkit

Real school safety means divesting from school resource officers and investing in restorative practices, social development, health, and counseling.
school to prison pipeline

Ending the School to Prison Pipeline

Many school districts are deciding that police in classrooms cause more problems than they solve.
teaching racism in schools

Teach Anti-Racism in Schools. It’s Worth It.

Research shows engaging directly with our country’s racist past and present helps students of all colors.
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Get Cops Out of Schools: A Factsheet

Educators are waking up to the grave emotional and developmental harm school resource officers cause. School districts must reallocate their resources.
lgbtq rights SCOTUS

The Fight for Equality Just Won a Huge Victory

There’s a lot of bad news out there, but I hope we’ll celebrate amid the pain.
protesters rally in support of Black Lives Matter

The Movement for Black Lives Is a Small-Town Movement, Too

Turns out a whole lot of Americans don’t like racism or police brutality — even in conservative, white, rural, or southern towns.
child with an empty plate

Trump’s War on the Hungry

The Trump administration has waged war on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, commonly called food stamps.
children-coronavirus-pandemic

The Real Coronavirus Threat to Kids: Poverty, Hunger, Homelessness

Half our children are at risk of the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Trump Breaks Promise on Medicare, Other Safety Net Programs

Trump promised to keep his hands off of Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security—while also trying to cut them to pieces.
snap-food-assistance

The White House Crusade to Kill Food Assistance

This rule change doesn’t promote work — it promotes misery. And it’s only the beginning.
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Trump's New SNAP Cuts Amount to War on the Poor

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced plans to cut SNAP benefits that could drive millions further into poverty.
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Teenagers Are Changing The World. Let Them Vote.

Young activists are leading global struggles over climate change and civil rights. They deserve to have a say in who runs their government.
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Even Alongside Impeachment, AOC's Plan to Eradicate Poverty Should Be Headline News

While Trump's potential impeachment dominates news feeds, let's not lose sight of the deep policy changes needed to make this country work for all of us.
karen-dolan-poverty-census-data

Census Fails to Count 100 Million People as Living in Poverty

Census data asserts US poverty has fallen to 11.8 percent, or 38.1 million Americans. Yet, 40 percent of all Americans can't afford a $400 emergency.
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About 100 Million Americans Are Effectively Hidden by Official Poverty Statistics

Millions of us are living in poverty — we need investments to raise the standard of living.

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Reports

Reimagining School Safety

A look at the dangers posed to students by law enforcement and how to invest in real school safety for our nation’s children.

Report: Students Under Siege

How the school-to-prison pipeline, poverty, and racism endanger our school children

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.