Smart Justice Reform
Increasingly harsh criminal justice policies over the last three decades have resulted in a system that thrives on over-criminalization, mass incarceration, and racial injustice. Instead of ensuring public safety, the war on drugs has led to unconstitutional police practices, unfair and inconsistent sentencing, and abuses of authority which only harm, rather than help, the public, and extremely disproportionately affect minorities.
Nationally, the ACLU has implemented the Criminal Law Reform Project to orchestrate national reforms to the “front end” of the criminal justice system from policing to sentencing. This includes putting an end to racially motivated policing and sentencing, increasing government accountability and transparency, and reversing the shift toward excessive incarceration.
What are we doing about it?
The ACLU of Kansas legal department has worked consistently to defend the constitutional rights of inmates, which are routinely violated. We also work in legislation to advocate for policies that increase police transparency, balance the three branches of government, and protect the integrity and independence of the judiciary system. In 2013, the ACLU investigated communication policies in state jails, finding that inmates were being denied their First Amendment rights. As a result of our efforts, we were able to help individuals gain the rights to receive letters, newspapers and magazines.