Criminal Justice Committee

When we talk about race and justice, we're talking about the ways that discrimination, policing, prosecutions, and incarceration practices impact Black communities.

Our criminal court system is shaped by biased policing and unfair judicial precedents, rooted in anti-Blackness and racial disparity. The emotional, mental, physical, and financial impact on our communities is a tangible experience for millions of Black people in the U.S. The cost of an unjust criminal court system is high.


RACE & JUSTICE POLICIES

When we see policies that unfairly target or penalize Black people in the criminal justice system, we must address these issues where they are — with laws and legislation, and with elected and appointed leaders. We provided policy recommendations to the Biden Administration to eliminate race-based discrimination in policing, courts, and incarceration.


Constitution

Criminal Justice.The Committee on Criminal Justice shall:

(1) seek to eliminate harsh and unfair sentencing practices that are responsible for mass incarceration and racial disparities in the prison system,

(2) support and seek to increase trust and public safety by advancing effective law enforcement practices,

(3) fight for the restoration of the voting rights of formerly incarcerated people and the removal of barriers to employment,

(4) elevate the voices of crime victim survivors in order to identify and advance systemic breakdowns existing in the criminal justice system that perpetuate crime,

(5) resolve to end the war on drugs for its disproportionate collateral consequences harm communities of color,

(6) seek the institution and availability of alternatives to incarceration including education, employment, and mental health services,

(7) eliminate zero tolerance policies implemented in our schools which are keeping kids out of the classroom and putting them on a path from the schoolhouse to the jailhouse,

(8) investigate programs implemented in our local law enforcement agencies which derail from their main purpose of safety and order to conduct the work of federal agencies for which they do not have the capacity, and

(9) seek budget modifications in states where incarceration receives more funding than education.


The Duluth NAACP Criminal Justice Committee continues to demand for arrest, use of force, and traffic stop rates that are proportionate to the racial demographics of the region and will work with the city and police department toward solutions to meet this goal. Since meeting with the mayor, police chiefs, and city attorney on May 11th, we have facilitated working groups with power holders in a range of city departments to further our interests. We have researched bans on pretextual stops and are currently working to draft a new ordinance or policy that will stop the unjust traffic stops happening in Duluth. Simultaneously, we have elevated the work of our fellow community members fighting for a crisis response team separate from the police.

Through connecting power holders in the city and county, we hope to identify the fastest and most effective path forward to limit unnecessary interactions between community members and law enforcement.

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