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

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

King was right: We need a multiracial movement to repair our country’s deep divides. Here’s where public scholarship plays a role.

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

Despite our sharp divisions, a majority of Americans are united behind many policies to combat poverty and reduce inequality.

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?

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

Reimagining School Safety Resolution Toolkit

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

Ending the School to Prison Pipeline

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

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.

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.