End Mass Criminalization


The United States houses 25% of the world's inmates despite having only 5% of the world's population. This fact prompted former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia to say, "Either we have the most evil people on earth living in the U.S., or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of how we approach the issue of criminal justice." The prison industrial complex has a vested interest in keeping people locked up.

The End Mass Criminalization Team is part of PDA's Civil Rights/Civil Justice platform. We work on the following issues:

  • Mass Incarceration
  • School to Prison Pipeline
  • Racial Profiling
  • Restoration of Voting Rights to People with Past Criminal Convictions
  • Prison Industrial Complex/Privatization of Prisons
  • War on Drugs/Legalization of Marijuana
  • Harm Reduction
  • Stop and Frisk
  • Mandatory Minimum Sentences
  • Prison Gerrymandering
  • Criminalization of Poverty
  • Solitary Confinement
  • Militarization of Law Enforcement
  • Incarceration of the Mentally Ill

Mass Incarceration Statistics/Facts

  • There are more African-Americans in prison, on probation or on parole than were enslaved in 1850
  • African-Americans account for 13% of marijuana use; however they make up 80% of the prison population incarcerated for marijuana use
  • More than 5 million Americans have lost their right to vote due to a past felony conviction
  • The US has 5% of the world's population but 24% of the world's prisoners
  • The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world with 2.3 million prisoners; China has 1.6 million
  • For profit prisons have risen 37% between 2002 and 2009. In 2011, Corrections Corporation of America recorded $1.7 billion in total revenue and the Geo Group recorded $1.6 billion. These companies spent more than $19.6 million on lobbying over the past 10 years
  • In 2003, African-American youth made up 16% of the nation’s overall juvenile population, but accounted for 45% of juvenile arrests
  • Children as young as five years old are being led out of classrooms in handcuffs for acting out or throwing temper tantrums
  • In many states, children as young as 13 are tried as adults

Legislation Our Team Has Endorsed

HR 429 - Grand Jury Reform Act (Johnson - GA)
HR 1102 - Police Accountability Act (Johnson - GA)
S 772/HR 1459 - Democracy Restoration Act (Cardin - MD and Conyers - MI)
HR 1232 - Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act (Johnson - GA)
S1056/HR 1933 - End Racial Profiling Act (Cardin - MD and Conyers - MI)

Sponsored by
Ruther Glen, VA