The ACLU of Northern California recognizes that California’s systems of policing and incarceration are rooted in our country’s legacy of slavery. Through slave patrols, the Black Codes, and “convict leasing,” our legal system has persistently and explicitly denied the humanity of Black people while criminalizing their actions. Today, the system continues to target, oppress, and inflict violence and suffering on Black, Brown, and other marginalized communities.
The Criminal Justice Program of the ACLU of Northern California seek to dramatically reduce incarceration, criminalization, and police abuse by ending unjust and oppressive laws, policies, and practices that target and disproportionately harm Black, Brown, and other marginalized communities. We advocate for transforming the criminal legal system into one that keeps communities safe and respects the dignity and rights of all who come into contact with it. We work in partnership with organizations that are led by and organize with people who are directly impacted by systems of criminalization and oppression.