The U.S. criminal-legal system is a stain on our democracy. Centered around criminalization and punishment, rather than acknowledging and addressing the underlying reasons for most crime, the current system is failing to keep people safe while tearing far too many communities apart—especially the Black and brown low-income communities disproportionately harmed by these practices.
The goal of the Civil Rights Corps Policy Department is to help policymakers and advocates end these injustices. Our work includes efforts to end unconstitutional wealth-based detention, support bail reform that maximizes pretrial liberty, address fines and fees policies that serve to criminalize poverty, end debt-based driver’s license suspension, eliminate racial disparities in these and related carceral systems, and otherwise work to dismantle criminal-legal injustice.
The following campaigns represent a sampling of our Dismantling Criminal-Legal Injustice Project initiatives. Please contact us for additional information, questions, or a summary of campaigns not listed here.
In 2019, over 100 ideologically diverse organizations launched Free to Drive: a coalition united by the belief that restrictions on driving privileges should be reserved for dangerous driving, not to coerce debt payment or to punish people who miss a court appearance. In the last five years, 22 states and D.C. have passed reforms to curb debt-based driving restrictions. The Free to Drive campaign unites legal, policy, advocacy, businesses, grassroots, and research organizations committed to the principle that restrictions on driving privileges should only be used for dangerous driving — not to coerce debt payment or to punish those who miss a traffic hearing.
In 2019, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Civil Rights Corps, and 120 other organizations nationwide came together to envision a new, non-carceral paradigm for public safety that respects the humanity, dignity, and human rights of all people. As a community, we proposed a holistic framework that expands our view of public safety, prioritizing prevention-oriented investments in non-carceral programs and social services—not jails, prison, and policing—to keep people safe.
Today, this work continues through a robust campaign that seeks to turn this shared vision into a political reality.
The following information represents a sampling of our Community Safety Project initiatives. Please contact us for additional information, questions, or a summary of campaigns not listed here.
Advancing Pretrial Justice
Ending the Criminalization of Poverty
Stopping Prosecutorial Misconduct & Predatory Diversion
Ending Financial Barriers to Voting