Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice

Our constitution is meant to safeguard against government abuses of power. But all too often, the rights of those involved in the criminal justice system are compromised or ignored.

The ACLU works to reform the criminal justice system and make the promise of fair treatment a reality for all people.

Additional Resources

Senate Introduces Legislation To Create Much Needed Criminal Justice Commission (2011 press release): In February 2011, significant legislation was introduced in the Senate that would create a bi-partisan commission to examine the United States criminal justice system. The legislation, titled the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, was introduced by Senator Jim Webb (D-VA). The commission would offer reform recommendations in a number of important areas designed to prevent, deter and reduce crime and violence.

Numbers Game: The Vicious Cycle of Incarceration in Mississippi's Criminal Justice System (2011 resource): The people of Mississippi deserve and demand crime policies that promote public safety, treat people fairly — regardless of the size of their pocketbook or the color of their skin — and use public resources wisely.

Inadequately Funded Public Defender Services Threaten Criminal Justice System, ACLU Testifies (2009 press release): In March 2009, American Civil Liberties Union attorney Robin L. Dahlberg testified before a House subcommittee about the need for congressional and state oversight of inadequately funded and administered indigent defense programs.  The hearing held by the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security of the House Judiciary Committee was entitled, “Representation of Indigent Defendants in Criminal Cases: A Constitutional Crisis in Michigan and Other States?”

Step By Step in Fixing a Broken Criminal Justice System (2010 blog)

ACLU History: Applying the Bill of Rights to Criminal Justice (2010 resource)

With the Stroke of a Pen, a Fairer Criminal Justice System (2010 blog)

Most Popular

10 Reasons to Oppose "3 Strikes, You're Out" (2002 resource)

ACLU Fact Sheet on the Proposed Victims' Rights Amendment (2003 resource)

States' Brilliant Budget Solution: Sacrifice Public Education to Spend More on Ineffective Prisons (2011 blog)

Systemic Failure: New Report Profiles 13 Michigan Residents in Indictment of State’s System of Providing Public Defense Services for the Poor (2011 press release)

Justice Department Finds DNA Collection From Arrestees Overloads Backlog In Crime Labs (2001 press release)

Two Supreme Court Rulings Expand Police Powers and Limit Civil Rights Enforcement (2011 press release)

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