Racial Disparity

JS Blog Post August 21, 2014

United Nations Hears About the Impact of Parental Incarceration on Children

Patricia Allard

Formal Briefing on the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at the Palais des Nations, United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland: The Children's Right Work Group of the US Human Rights Network (pre-recorded video presentation) presented a powerful statement, encompassing the following concerns: over medication and use of psychotropic medications of Black girls, child labor primarily affecting Latino children in the US, necessity for alternatives to incarceration of parents convicted of non-violent drug offenses and children of color's right to family wellbeing and integrity, concerns about trying youth in adult courts who are sentenced to adult prisons, school to prison pipeline, and removal of Indigenous children from their People.

Presenters: Stephanie Franklin (Franklin Law Group), Julia Perez, Patricia Allard (Justice Strategies) and Angelo Pinto (Correctional Association of NY). Videographer: Bo Yih Thom, Breakaway Addiction Services

JS Publication August 13, 2014

Justice Strategies CERD Report on Alleviating Impact of Parental Incarceration

In this brief report, Justice Strategies researcher Patricia Allard argues: 1) for judges to be allowed the discretion to sentence parents to alternatives to prison, and 2) to require, under federal and state law, that Family Impact Statements be submitted to the court prior to sentencing determinations.  These arguments form the basis of Justice Strategies' civil society shadow report submission to the 85th Session of the United Nation's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) taking place in Geneva, Switzerland the week of August 10th, 2014.  Follow Pat's reporting from Geneva on our COIP blog, Facebook page and Twitter feeds.

JS Publication August 13, 2014

Justice Strategies Testifies before US Dept. of State on Border Crossing Prosecutions

In this testimony provided to the US Department of State, Justice Strategies' Director, Judith Greene discusses our concerns with the tremendous increase in misdemeanor and felony prosecutions filed against those crossing the border under 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1325 and Sec. 1326, respectively, from 2002 to 2013.   In addition, we express our concerns with the segregated, sub-standard prisons being exclusively administered by private, for-profit prison corporations under contract to the US Bureau of Prisons.  This testimony is provided as part of the reveiw of the US government by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination being conducted in Geneva.  Follow our reporting on the proceedings in Geneva on Facebook and Twitter.

JS Blog Post August 8, 2014

United States Government on the Hot Seat for the Detrimental Impact on Children of Parental Incarceration

Patricia Allard
 
The United States Government is under review at the 85th session of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The Committee is being asked to seriously consider: What can the United States Government do to address the psychological, emotional and physical needs of Indigenous, African-American and Latino children who face parental incarceration? As a member of civil society, Justice Strategies offers the following two suggestions as an opportunity for the Unites States government to honor the needs of children.
JS Blog Post July 15, 2014

FREE HER Rally

Patricia Allard

On Saturday, June 21, 2014, the Families for Justice as Healing (http://justiceashealing.org) held a historic gathering, FREE HER Rally, on the Mall in Washington, D.C. The FREE HER rally and campaign was organized by women and others who support the ending of mass incarceration. The goals of the Free Her Rally were to "(1) raise awareness of the increase in the rate of incarceration of women in the United States and the impact on our children and communities, (2) Demand an end to voter disenfranchisement for people with felony convictions and (3) to ask President Obama to commute the sentences of women and men in the federal system who have applied for commutation." (http://justiceashealing.org/free-her-...)

Andrea James, the force behind Families for Justice as Healing and the organizer extraordinaire behind the Free Her Rally, closed the rally with a powerful call to action, asking participants to keep advocating for sentencing reform for parents who have minor children on the outside. Watch James' call to action.

JS Blog Post May 20, 2014

Twenty Years After: Forgiveness

Tina Reynolds

To all of my fellow GEMS, this submission is for you.  Being a “good enough mom” (GEM) takes the pressures off of having to get everything right.  When I came home from prison, I was on a quest to gain some semblance of “normalcy” – find a job and make a home for me and my children. To accomplish this, I didn’t search within myself. I sought external activities; I became involved with various groups, community organizations, churches and colleges.

While on my “normalcy” quest, I became friends with a wonderful woman, Mildred. She got to know me quickly and could see that I struggled with trusting others, feeling safe and maintaining a sense of hope.  Mildred wisely told me that these characteristics did not come from my experience in prison, but rather they are deeply rooted in my past life experiences. Therefore, on my quest for “normalcy” after prison, along with my involvement in advocacy efforts, I began to unearth, understand and heal from my childhood trauma. Read more »

JS Publication March 28, 2011

Numbers Game: The Vicious Cycle of Incarceration in Mississippi's Criminal Justice System

On March 28, 2011, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Mississippi in collaboration with Justice Strategies released NUMBERS GAME: The Vicious Cycle of Incarceration in Mississippi’s Criminal Justice System. The report's examination of the State's drug enforcement and sentencing system, co-authored by Judith Greene and Patricia Allard, raises troubling concerns about the focus of federally funded drug task forces, the unchecked use of confidential informants and the cumulative negative impact these law enforcement tactics have on relationships between police and the community. The report concludes that there are serious structural problems in Mississippi's drug enforcement and sentencing scheme sufficient to require reform efforts that would enhance public safety, protect civil rights and ensure the state’s fiscal solvency.

Major findings in the NUMBERS GAME report include that: Read more »

JS Publication September 10, 2009

Strategies for Engaging Suburban and Rural Communities in New Jersey

This memo is designed to assist the New Jersey Second Chance coalition in their efforts to educate legislators that represent rural and suburban towns about areas of common ground they share with urban communities seeking criminal justice reform. Serving as a best practices document rooted in experiences pushing for criminal justice reforms in Connecticut, strategies from this memo are designed to help New Jersey advocates engage non-traditional allies in rural and suburban New Jersey on the need to reform New Jersey’s criminal justice system.

News Article The Stamford Advocate March 25, 2006

Supporters Urge Change to Laws on Drug-free School Zones (CT)

HARTFORD -- Calling current law racist, activists yesterday pushed for a bill that would shrink the size of zones around schools, day-care centers and public housing that carry stiffer penalties for drug offenses.

The bill would reduce the current 1,500 foot "drug free" radius around those facilities to 200 feet, within which additional mandatory three-year sentences are tacked on to drug offenses, including possession, sale and intent to sell drugs.

Advocates said the law hurts minorities disproportionately because prohibited zones blanket most of Connecticut's mostly minority central cities much more than suburban or rural areas. Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven, for example, are almost totally covered with drug-free zones, according to a national study released this week by the Justice Policy Institute.

Supporters of the bill held a news conference before testifying at a Judiciary Committee public hearing on the bill and several others. "All these laws do is be tough on people of color and poor people in our communities," said Barbara Fair, a licensed clinical social worker and member of New Haven-based People Against Injustice. "It's giving the prosecutors a (plea bargaining) tool to use to coerce people to plead guilty to crimes they may not have even committed." Read more »

News Article The Press of Atlantic City March 24, 2006

Study Concludes Drug-free Zones Not Protecting Children (NJ)

Drug-free zones not only don't protect children, but instead have put a disproportionate number of minorities in jail, according to experts who have been studying the policy.

A national study — spawned by a New Jersey commission's findings — was released Thursday. In it, the Justice Policy Institute found that the zones are too large and therefore do not deter drug sales within school zones and other protected areas.

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