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

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.

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.

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.

Trump’s War on the Hungry

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

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

Half our children are at risk of the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

The White House Crusade to Kill Food Assistance

This rule change doesn’t promote work — it promotes misery. And it’s only the beginning.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Trump Launches Aggressive Poverty Disinformation Campaign

The middle class is starting to look poor, but the president’s Council of Economic Advisers now argues that not even the poor are poor—all the better to cut programs that serve both groups.

‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws Encourage Dangerous Vigilantism

Some Americans call the cops on black people for frivolous reasons. Others appoint themselves judge, jury, and — sometimes — executioner.

Punitive, Zero Tolerance Policies Are Endangering Our Students

Restorative justice is a promising alternative to arming teachers and putting cops in schools. And we can prove it.