Justice For All: Decisive Action to Reform Laws that Criminalize Poverty and Status
Criminal justice systems and incarceration continue to disproportionately affect segments of society that are living in poverty and/or are marginalized, including Black, indigenous, and other racial and ethnic communities. Work has accelerated in countries around the world, though, through court action and legislative reform, to change national laws that criminalize people for who they are, rather than for what they have done.
This side event at the next session of the UN Crime Commission provides an opportunity for UN bodies, member states, and civil society actors to set out clear goals for the decisive action needed to decriminalize poverty and status, linked to the work of the Commission and other international mechanisms and initiatives.
Dominique Day is chairperson of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent.
Olivier De Schutter is UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.
Motsamai Makume is chairperson of the board of directors of Legal Aid South Africa and is a judge of the High Court of South Africa.
Janeille Matthews is a lecturer in law at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.
Nathália Oliveira is co-founder of Black Initiative for a New Drug Policy.
Rachel Rossi is deputy associate attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice.
Jennifer Smith is executive director of the International Legal Foundation.
Lani Guinier’s Overlooked Education Legacy
The late Lani Guinier thought deeply about the intersection between education and criminal justice. Her leadership at Open Society helped pave the way to colleges across the country offering higher education to the incarcerated.
Challenging Mexico’s Abusive Preventative Detention System
Mónica Esparza’s case is one of the most notorious cases of extreme gender violence carried out by Mexican authorities. What her story teaches about how to combat the country’s scourge of gender-based violence.
A Crisis Averted
Fighting the Pandemic in Pakistan’s Prisons
Thanks to the heroic efforts of civil society groups, prisoners in Pakistan did not suffer a mass outbreak of COVID-19. What the near miss underlined, however, is the country’s urgent need for criminal justice reform.