The ACLU is dedicated to ensuring that our prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities comply with the Constitution, federal law, and international human rights principles, and to addressing the crisis of over-incarceration today.
America, land of the free, has earned the disturbing distinction of being the world’s leading jailer. The ACLU of North Dakota believes that together we can cut that number in half by 2020.
By fighting for nationwide reforms to police practices, indigent defense systems, disproportionate sentencing, and government abuses of authority in the name of fighting crime, and drug policies which have failed to achieve public safety and health while putting an unprecedented number of people behind bars, CLRP is working to reverse the tide of overincarceration, protect constitutional rights, eliminate racial disparities, and increase government accountability and transparency.
The ACLU is committed to challenging the criminalization and incarceration of young people in North Dakota—particularly youth from disenfranchised communities. After decades of punitive “tough-on-crime” responses to youth crime and misbehavior, there has been a perceptible shift in recent years surrounding juvenile justice issues. Policymakers are slowly returning to the first principles of juvenile justice by recognizing that young people are still developing and should be given opportunities for treatment, rehabilitation, and positive reinforcement. Through advocacy, legislation, and reallocation of resources, a majority of states have successfully expanded community alternatives to jail and prison and significantly reduced the number of children behind bars.
We are promoting positive approaches to school discipline and seeking to dismantle the “school-to-prison pipeline.” We are working to change laws and policies so that states and local jurisdictions use youth jails and prisons sparingly and instead provide effective community-based services and supports to system-involved young people and their families.
Ending excessive sentences and extreme punishments is of paramount importance to protect young people in the juvenile justice system. Together with national and state partners, we are committed to ending juvenile life without parole sentences so that no young person is sentenced to die in prison. We are also working to end the use of solitary confinement for all young people in juvenile facilities and in adult jails and prisons.