Criminal Justice Reform

An old, abandoned state penitentiary cellblock bathed in sunlight.

Q&A: How These Oregon Leaders Are Empowering Black Women in the Criminal Justice System

Colorlines talks to Abbey Stamp and O’Nesha Cochran, two women at the forefront of revolutionary change in their community.

Silver handcuffs on black asphalt

New Report Highlights Need, Strategies for Juvenile Justice Reform

The Urban Institute and the Youth First Initiative want to help America move away from youth incarceration in favor of community-based solutions.

Black man with beard and platinum diamond encrusted chains smiles while looking slightly right is greeted by a group

ICYMI: Meek Mill's New Docuseries Has a Teaser Trailer

In “#FreeMeek,” the Philly rapper hero details his firsthand experience with the criminal justice system.

An old, abandoned state penitentiary cellblock bathed in sunlight.

New Report Offers Big Picture Look at Mass Incarceration

The Prison Policy Initiative shines a light on racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

Close-up of two pregnant, Black prison inmates as they stand behind bars with the orange  uniforms raised to show their pregnancies.

States Consider Ban on Shackling Incarcerated People During Childbirth

The American Civil Liberties Union estimates that roughly 12,000 pregnant women are jailed in the United States each year.

Close-up of white police officer's arm and waistline, with gun in holster showing.

New Tool Maps Arrests Nationwide With Eye to Reform

Vera Institute of Justice’s new Arrest Trends interactive database underscores racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

Old cell block inside an Idaho State Penitentiary.

STUDY: Why the Ban on Pell Grants for Incarcerated People Should Be Lifted

Postsecondary education greatly increases employment opportunities and wages for the formerly incarcerated.

Clint Smith III and Josie Duffy Rice. Black-and-white images of Black man in glasses and sweater over plaid shirt and Black woman in white shirt in front of blue background near black and white text blocks that read "JUSTICE IN AMERICA" and "SEASON 2"

Justice in America Podcast Co-Hosts Shout Out Criminal Justice Reformers

As the show returns for a second season, Josie Duffy Rice and Clint Smith III talk to Colorlines about the activists and organizations fighting to remake the nation’s criminal justice system.

Meek Mill raises his arms in victory on stage during the 4th Annual TIDAL X: Brooklyn at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY on October 23, 2018.

Colorlines Favorites of 2018: Meek Mill Seeks Redemption on 'Championships'

The Colorlines team is sharing our favorite 2018 videos, books, hashtags, movies and more. Here, contributing writer Shani Saxon dives into why Meek Mill’s “Championships” was the year’s best album.

Five incarcerated people in orange jumpsuits are locked in a cell. There is an American flag hanging above the cell.

Civil Rights Orgs Cautiously Optimistic About Senate Vote on FIRST STEP Act

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights: “This bipartisan bill offers some important improvements to the current federal system, but it falls short of providing the meaningful change that is required.”

U.S. gun violence is a human rights crisis, says Amnesty International

Under the Gun: U.S. Firearm Violence Is a Human Rights Crisis

A new report from Amnesty International says that gun violence in the United States is a crisis that has an exorbitant toll on communities of color.

Man in orange hoodie and blue jeans walks in front of storefront window with red and blue and white letters surrounded by white wall

LISTEN: Podcast Explores How 'Justice in America' Really Works

Attorney Josie Duffy Rice partners with educator Clint Smith III to examine the criminal justice system’s devastating impact on marginalized communities.

A Black man wearing a white shirt and gray shorts stands with his hands in cuffs, holding an orange mesh bag and a white and red bottle

House Approves Controversial Prison Reform Measure

But the FIRST STEP Act faces an uphill battle. Criminal justice reform advocates say any meaningful bill must include sentencing reform, and Republicans and Democrats in the Senate agree.

NYC marijuana arrests

New York City Officials Vow to Revamp Marijuana Policy

The mayor and district attorneys promise to limit prosecutions for most offenses, but reform advocates remain weary in absence of codified law.

A black incarcerated person makes a phone call at a reintegration center as he faces a wall painted in monochrome blue and white with the American flag at the top

Why Reentry Is Incredibly Hard for Formerly Incarcerated Black and Latinx People

Colorlines talks to Bruce Western, author of  “Homeward: Life in the Year After Incarceration,” which follows the journeys of 100+ formerly incarcerated people as they navigate the challenges of racial, health and socioeconomic inequity.

Five incarcerated people in orange jumpsuits are locked in a cell. There is an American flag hanging above the cell.

House Advances Controversial Bill to Reform Federal Prison System

But several civil rights organizations—and Senators—say the measure would do nothing to address sentencing reform that Black and Latinx people desperately need.

National Black Mama's Bail Out Seeks to Reunite Families for Mother's Day

“We are committed to building a community-based movement to end pretrial detention and ultimately mass incarceration.”

Overdose survey

New York Mayor Endorses Safe Injection Sites to Curb Fatal Overdoses

Black and Latinx leaders celebrate announcement as victory for communities that have experienced disproportionate criminalization during the ongoing war on drugs.

Prison Reforms

New York Governor Restores Voting Rights to Parolees

An estimated 35,000 residents, overwhelmingly Black and Latinx, stand to benefit from Andrew Cuomo’s executive order.

Joe Gratz via Flickr Creative Commons

Washington Is First State to Adopt Comprehensive Anti-Bias Rule for Jury Selection

“This groundbreaking rule for jury selection will reduce the damage done by racial and ethnic bias to the integrity of our judicial system and to communities of color.”