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

Why Is Trump Discriminating Against My Transgender Child?

Trump’s White House revoked Title IX protections of transgender students.

With DeVos, We’re Likely to See a Charter School to Prison Pipeline

We need to get cops out of schools and invest in an accountable public education system, IPS’ Karen Dolan told the Real News Network.

With DeVos Confirmation, Expect Charter School to Prison Pipeline

We could see a deepening of the racial punishment gap for schoolchildren.

Calling Working People of All Colors

The economic concerns of the white working class and people of color are more alike than different.

Black Girls Are Criminalized for Choosing Survival

Our legal system has failed to protect young girls’ right to self defense.

The Bad News about Good Census Numbers

Despite better numbers, the latest census data leaves much to be desired for closing the racial wage, wealth, and opportunity gaps in the United States.

Candidates Need to Fall in Line With Queerer, Browner Electorate

Support of civil and human rights will drive the millennial voice in the upcoming presidential election.

Another Black Man Left to Die in the Streets

Shooting after shooting, police deny black lives even the most basic human concern that could’ve saved them.

Bill Clinton Should Hit the Road for Criminal Justice Reform

If Hillary win this November, Bill Clinton would have the unique opportunity to right the wrongs of his administration.

Students, Not Criminals

Punitive school policies are funneling children – especially African-Americans – out of the classroom and into jail cells.

My Mother, Stopped for Driving While Black

When the police pulled their guns on my middle-aged mom, a white motorist pulled up to tell them what a good job they were doing.

Death by Traffic Stop

Black people are twice as likely to be pulled over as whites — and three times more likely to experience the use of force afterward.

The Movement for Black Lives Will Not Be Criminalized

Under the guise of protecting police, laws are being enacted that are nothing more than attempts to censor and criminalize political resistance and protests of police violence.

Who’s Profiting From America’s Private Juvenile Prisons?

One mother’s fight to shut down a private juvenile corrections facility in Louisiana known for its brutality and big profits.

African Americans Are Still Treated as Second-Class Citizens By the Law

The infamous Dred Scott Supreme Court ruling once denied African Americans any and all rights as human beings. Has anything changed?

From Mamie Till to Tarsha Jackson, Mothers Continue the Fight for Juvenile Justice

Emmett Till’s mother brought awareness to America’s failed, racist justice system over 60 years ago. Today, mothers are still at the forefront of the fight for justice for their children and all children.

Does the Fourth Amendment Really Protect People of Color?

A Supreme Court decision over a stop and search case makes it easier for illegal police searches to suddenly become legal—and that has an effect on Black and Brown people.

They’re Killing Us. Help Us Stop Them.

From Orlando to Washington, a culture of fear and bigotry is taking hold of this country. We can stop it together.

Gender Explained: How the Obama Administration Is Getting It Right on Gender Identity

While society catches up with science, we need legal protections to stop discrimination and violence against people who identify as transgender.

Mother’s Day is Another Day to Struggle for Justice When Your Child is Behind Bars

An emerging grassroots, family-based movement, sustained by the love of mothers across the nation, reminds us that mothers are leaders as well as nurturers, teachers as well as advocates.