Ending wealth-based pretrial detention
Every night in this country, there are 500,000 legally innocent human beings locked in cages solely because they cannot afford to make a monetary payment. Civil Rights Corps staff have ended unconstitutional money bail systems in jurisdictions in Mississippi, Missouri, Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia, and elsewhere. We have ongoing cases challenging wealth-based detention systems all over the country, including landmark cases in Texas, Massachusetts, and Illinois.
Justice, not profit
All across the United States, cities and counties use their local courts as profit centers, funding themselves and enriching a growing number of private, for-profit companies with court costs, fines, and fees assessed against impoverished defendants charged with misdemeanors and traffic offenses. Civil Rights Corps leads the field with pioneering constitutional cases challenging the use of American courts as sources of revenue rather than justice. We have designed landmark challenges to the privatization of basic local court functions, including our successful challenges to for-profit, "user funded" probation systems, in which probation officers have a personal and direct financial stake in the outcome of hundreds of thousands of people's cases.
ENDING MODERN DEBTORS' PRISONS
Although the Constitution prohibits caging people simply because they are poor, thousands of people are jailed every day because they are unable to pay court fines and fees. The lawyers at Civil Rights Corps have led the field in designing successful challenges to modern American debtors' prisons in a number of states, including Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, and Tennessee.
Militarization of police
Each year brings an estimated 40,000 armed police raids of homes in the United States, many of them based on scant evidence or fraudulent police assertions. Civil Rights Corps currently represents seven families whose homes were illegally raided by D.C. police. Our broader goal is to challenge the growing militarization of American police forces, with a particular focus on lessening the devastating impact of those practices on people of color.
The prosecutor project
The Prosecutor Project was launched in 2017 to challenge pervasive abuses of power by criminal prosecutors. The project targets prosecutors whose repeated violations of ethics and the law have victimized the vulnerable people they are bound to protect. With painstaking investigation and aggressive litigation, the Prosecutor Project creates accountability for officials who have historically acted with impunity.
Civil Rights Corps lawyers first designed and brought many of these landmark civil rights cases while leading the organization Equal Justice Under Law. They now continue and expand upon that work at Civil Rights Corps, where they work hard every day to investigate and mount new systemic challenges to poverty jailing and other systemic injustices nationwide.