Last week, the NAACP held its three-day National Religious Leaders Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, to help move the faith community back to its long held leadership role on matters of social justice, and a serious look at anti-religious bias and attacks on religious freedom.
NAACP leaders convened working sessions with religious leaders from diverse faiths and ethnicities across the country from Christian, Jewish, Islamic and other communities, on HIV/AIDS outreach, climate change impacts and injustices in the criminal justice system. As part of the NAACP’s Economic and Criminal Justice policy agenda, a “Research Brief: What about the Women? An Overview of Women in the Criminal Justice System,” will be released to spur action on addressing the fastest-growing segment of incarcerated persons in the U.S. – women.
In the Brief, co-authors Stephanie R. Bush Baskette, President/Founder of Sojourn Institute and Monique W. Morris, Vice President for Economic Programs, NAACP, examine factors contributing to the enormous growth of women, particularly African American women, within the criminal justice system; social justice, education, economic and health issues that plague these women before and after incarceration; and the pronounced impact of incarceration on their children and families. The brief cites compelling facts regarding the “more than one million women who are under the supervision of the US criminal justice system.” From 1991 to 2007, the number of incarcerated mothers increased by 122 percent.”
“The vast majority of homes are anchored by women and increases in incarceration equates to a decline in family stability,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “From housing to employment, formerly incarcerated individuals face significant barriers upon reentry into their communities. Given the role that churches and other houses of faith, have historically played in providing communities with spiritual, financial and social supports, they are a key partner in our ability to ensure formerly incarcerated individuals have an opportunity to get back on the path towards lifelong success following a temporary setback,” he added.