Increasingly harsh criminal justice policies over the last three decades have resulted in a system that relies on over-criminalization, mass incarceration, and racial injustice. Instead of ensuring public safety and addressing the root causes of crime, 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's Smart Justice movement has sought 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 Kansans who are incarcerated or otherwise involved with the criminal legal system. We also work in the legislature to advocate for policies that increase police transparency, balance the three branches of government, protect the integrity and independence of the judiciary system, and decrease our dependence on mass incarceration, and we seek to empower and educate Kansans to realize the vision of a more just legal system that truly keeps our communities safe.