Criminal justice policies across the United States have created the phenomena of mass arrest and incarceration that have particularly decimated African American and Latino communities. People of color are significantly and disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. A criminal record has become a surrogate for race-based discrimination throughout the U.S., serving the same function as the Black Codes and Jim Crow did in earlier times. Thus, the structural and institutional barriers to education and employment for people with criminal justice records are more than collateral consequences; they are an abrogation of fundamental civil rights.
Unchaining Civil Rights is a collaborative project of the Center for Community Alternatives/Justice Strategies and the Legal Action Center/National Hire Network. The project identifies documents and describes the institutional and structural exclusions in the four Es - employment, education, enfranchisement and equality and the ways that these exclusions result in de facto discrimination of racial minorities. We hope to spur alliances among advocates for criminal justice system reform, the civil rights community and others to reform federal and state laws and eliminate the barriers that stand in the way of the full reintegration of people with criminal records.
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CCA announces our newest publication, "The Use of Criminal History Records in College Admissions Reconsidered".
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