Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice Goals: Eliminate disparate treatment of blacks in all aspects of law enforcement and criminal justice systems.

National Prison Project

The National Prison Project is a Division of the NAACP Branch and Field Services Department. The purpose of the NAACP Prison Project is to promote partnerships, legislation, and initiatives that positively impact inmate recidivism, ex-felon re-enfranchisement and racial disparities within the criminal justice system; as well provide the incarcerated with a vehicle of empowerment through the formation of Prison Branches.

The priorities for the Project are to assist in national, state, and local efforts to re-enfranchise former felons who have served their sentence, reactivate former prison Branches and activate new prison Branches, assist in providing voter registration and voter education, address disparate treatment of inmates, identify and provide referrals for inmates and their families through collaborative partnerships.

Excessive Use of Force

Policy Recommendations

The following policies are promising ways for the police to address police shootings and brutality based on race, before they happen.

  • Data: Every police department should keep detailed records of police contacts and incidents of use of force by race and gender. These statistics are already kept by many departments in the form of “Stop, Question and Frisk Report Worksheets” which should be more widely adopted
  • Accountability: Incidents of excessive use of force and disparities in arrest data should be tracked for individual officers and used as a factor in promotion and retention of officers.
  • Leadership: Police chiefs and other leaders must lead by example in condemning racial profiling and excessive use of force at every opportunity and never engaging in it themselves.
  • Prosecution: Cases of police brutality must be prosecuted with a better record of success and the code of silence that protects officers who abuse their authority must be challenged.
  • Citizen Oversight: Citizen oversight in the form of community review boards must become a more standard practice.
  • Training: Law enforcement officers of all races must be trained to acknowledge and confront their racial biases. Developing a conscious awareness of bias will inform better decision making in moments of crisis.
  • Intervention: A small number of officers are responsible for a disproportionate share of uses of excessive force. Early intervention is needed with these officers.

Restoring the Vote to Ex-Felons

Take Action!

  • Educate! Hold a panel or a hearing, write an op-ed on the importance in our democracy of state and federal legislation to restore the vote to ex-felons.
  • Legislate! Nearly every state has legislation on the re-enfranchisement. Get involved with groups that are working to pass this legislation and work to ensure that it meets the criteria listed above. If there is no progressive legislation to restore the vote to ex-felons in your state, work with members of your state legislature to introduce model legislation and form coalitions to support it.