WASHINGTON, D.C., April 30, 2015 This week, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) released “Unequal Justice: Mobilizing the Private Bar to Fight Mass Incarceration,” a report to mark the official launch of the Criminal Justice Initiative. The Initiative’s mission is to mobilize the private bar to fight mass incarceration. The report outlines systematic racial disparities in the United States’ criminal justice system, identifies priority issue areas upon which the organization will focus its efforts, and proposes strategies to address them.
The Lawyers’ Committee has long worked at the intersection of criminal justice and civil rights, from educational reentry to access to employment for people with criminal records. The Public Policy Project has also had extensive involvement in advocating for reform and convenes the Civil Rights Coalition for Police Reform, created by the Lawyers’ Committee immediately following the killing of unarmed youth Michael Brown by then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
In September 2013, the Lawyers’ Committee launched the Criminal Justice Initiative to specifically address injustices present in our criminal justice system. The Initiative focuses on mass incarceration, an issue which disproportionately affects individuals and communities of color. According to the report, “…the explosion of the criminal justice system that has accelerated over the past forty years and is today at a breaking point, necessitates a renewed, strategic, and focused effort by the organization.”
The Lawyers’ Committee’s long history of litigation and advocacy for impactful social change necessitates involvement in the fight to reform our broken criminal justice system. The Criminal Justice Initiative will continue to work in tandem with existing Lawyer’s Committee projects, and will expand to include several new programs. The Lawyers’ Committee is committed to continuing its work to fight mass incarceration and to address the racial disparities present in the criminal justice system.
To read the full report, click here.