It’s well-documented that unjust policing, prosecution, and incarceration practices, as well as structural discrimination, unfairly impact Black communities. In fact, Black people are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of white people. 65 percent of Black adults and 35 percent of Latino and Asian adults have felt targeted because of race. Those numbers are unacceptable. The mental, emotional, physical, and financial impact on our communities is a tangible experience for millions of Black people in the U.S.
Biased policing and unfair judicial precedents rooted in anti-blackness and racial disparity shape our criminal justice system, and the cost of that unjust system is high. The U.S. has the largest prison population in the world — 1 in 100 citizens is behind bars. When incarceration is used as the primary response to social problems, individuals, families, and communities suffer.
The current system is skewed against individuals in general, and lower-income and Black communities in particular. That’s partly because the number of former prosecutors and corporate attorneys who sit on the bench greatly outnumber former public defenders and civil rights lawyers. It’s also because structural inequities allow people with lower incomes to be penalized in ways that wealthy people aren’t, systematically affecting Black communities through over-policing, heavy surveillance, and harsher sentencing.