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

school resource officer police car at school in oregon

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.
School safety concept - armed police officer on duty protecting a closed campus high school in California

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.
hands-off-medicare-social-safety-net-trump-administration

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.
SNAP-cuts-food-stamps-secretary-of-agriculture-sonny-purdue

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.
youth-activist-vote

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.
aoc-poverty-alexandria-ocasio-cortez

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.
homeless-person-official-poverty

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.
school-lunch

We're the Wealthiest Country — Our Kids Shouldn't Go to School Hungry

The Trump administration recently proposed cuts to SNAP. Now they want to roll back national nutrition standards for school lunches.
sanctions-iran

What Sanctions Mean for My Iranian-American Family

As innocent people suffer the repercussions of sanctions, break-ins are on the rise — including at my grandparents’ house.

Transgender People’s Rights Are in Peril

The majority-conservative Supreme Court is poised to review the application of Title VII to trans people in the workplace.
mothers-day

All I want for Mother's Day Is Equality for My Child

My child has fought her whole life for her right to exist. This administration wants to take that away.
believe-women-blasey-ford-kavanaugh

Men Like Kavanaugh Always Enjoy the Presumption of Innocence; Others Aren’t so Lucky

White males with high economic status are almost always presumed innocent, often at the expense of minorities and white women.

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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.