Criminal Justice


It should not, at this point in United States history, surprise anyone to hear that there are drastic racial disparities in enforcement of laws, judiciary proceedings and treatment within and beyond the criminal justice system. The resources in this section document when and where many of these inequities originate. Several resources also provide concrete strategies for affecting change (an examination of best practices aimed at interrupting the so-called “school to prison pipeline”, for example). In thinking about this topic for racial equity work, please also look at the sections in this site on the history of racism and on cultural racism. These sections include information about ways in which the criminal justice system continues to mirror a long-standing set of policies and laws that reflect bias; i.e., they are based on a viewpoint that some racial/ethnic groups are “of a criminal nature” and need to be left to civilize themselves, and that others are “redeemable” and worthy of investment, in terms of education, housing, health, etc. A deep understanding of the roots of the United States’ current highly racialized and inequitable criminal justice system can clarify new ways of imagining a more equitable one, and thus, goals and opportunities for change.

Key sites



Also in this section: