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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How We're Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Legacy

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Biden Should Build on Bipartisan Support for Hiking the Minimum Wage and Taxing the Rich

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Congress Must Deliver COVID-19 Relief

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This Is an Emergency: Americans Need Relief, and Trump Is Standing in the Way

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

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Reimagining School Safety Resolution Toolkit

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Ending the School to Prison Pipeline

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Research shows engaging directly with our country’s racist past and present helps students of all colors.
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Turns out a whole lot of Americans don’t like racism or police brutality — even in conservative, white, rural, or southern towns.
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Trump’s War on the Hungry

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