The criminal system is a prime driver of inequality in the United States. We’re fighting at all levels, using structural litigation, non-litigation advocacy and direct services, to reduce the impact of our discriminatory criminal system.
Addressing the conditions of incarceration. Persons confined to prisons, jails, immigration detention and other criminal system institutions are confronted with unique and particularly cruel form of state power. As long as mass incarceration is a fact, the need for prisoners’ rights advocacy will be essential.
Reducing unnecessary and discriminatory contact with the criminal system and its effects. Race bias is deeply embedded in each criminal system component, including in police departments, prosecutor offices, courts, prisons, the laws themselves, and the effects of collateral consequences. These effects are significant whether they result in long-term incarceration, crushing court-imposed financial obligations (debtors’ prisons) or barriers to employment, education or housing after a period of incarceration.
“The Washington Lawyers’ Committee is one of our best partners. The first time they came over, they listened to us. They understand that knowledge exists in lots of different places and didn’t act like lawyers know more than the citizens. With their help, we’re going to keep hundreds and thousands of people in this city.”