An American Crisis

America’s incarceration crisis is the ultimate example of the politics and underlying culture of dehumanization we must end together. Our government is not merely failing to eliminate systemic racism and reduce vulnerability but instead exacerbating both with the carceral state. We lock up more people than any other country on Earth. We criminalize poverty, needlessly separate children from their parents, and destabilize and destroy families, even entire neighborhoods, in the process. SCSJ seeks to reduce the number of people entering and remaining in the criminal legal system. We focus on front-end issues, like policing, over-criminalization, and the prosecutorial function. We also focus on back-end issues, like safely bringing people home from jails and prisons and ending excessively harsh policies fueling mass incarceration. 

Person holding prison bars with blue overlay

Accountability Litigation

We hold state and local officials accountable through litigation when they abuse their authority against historically marginalized individuals or communities. We initiate lawsuits against municipalities, counties, and other governmental entities to ensure that unlawful or unconstitutional practices and policies cease.

Our Initiatives

Open Data Policing

Where data sets are incomplete or missing, it is because they have not been reported to the state agency from which the site derives its records. Although the site permits users to identify the career enforcement patterns of individual officers associated with known traffic stops, Open Data Policing does not have access to, nor does it publish, the names of drivers, passengers, or officers involved in traffic stops.

Open Data Policing is a first-of-its-kind platform aiming to make real the recommendation of former President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing to make stop, search, and use-of-force “data…publicly available to ensure transparency.” The site currently aggregates, visualizes, and publishes public records related to all known traffic stops that have occurred in North Carolina since 2002, in Illinois since 2005, and in Maryland since 2013. Data is collected in all states pursuant to mandatory data collection statutes and reported monthly to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Illinois State Police, and Maryland State Police. The platform does not alter or manipulate raw data.

Know Your Rights

Over the past two decades, there has been a drastic increase in the number of police officers patrolling public schools. Since 1995-1996, it is estimated that the number of School Resource Officers in North Carolina schools has risen by over 300%. Given the increased presence of police in schools, it is critical that students (and all people) be prepared for encounters with law enforcement.

YJP has produced a wallet “Know Your Rights” card that outlines:

  1. an individual’s rights when interacting with law enforcement,
  2. general tips for interacting with law enforcement, and
  3. what to do if an officer violates your rights.

We encourage you to print a card for yourself and distribute cards to any youth you work with or know.

Ending Mass Incarceration News

Justice System Reform

SCSJ Stands with Community, Civil Rights Groups in Call for Police Accountability

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Southern Coalition for Social Justice is joining other civil rights groups and the community in calling for an end to over-policing and police violence after the police killings this month of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tenn., and Darryl Tyree Williams in Raleigh.   Nichols was beat to death by police on Jan.…

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Justice System Reform

SCSJ Files Brief in Police Shooting Case

SCSJ Files Amicus Curiae Brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Urging Reversal of District Court Grant of Immunity in Controversial Police Shooting Case Brief, submitted on behalf of Texas NAACP, argues decision sets a dangerous precedent AUSTIN, TX (February 23, 2016) – This afternoon, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice…

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