Ending Mass Incarceration and Criminalization of Communities of Color

Utah vs Strieff: Supreme Court Decision

Utah vs  Strieff: Supreme Court Decision

United Methodist Women Issue Priority:

Ending Mass Incarceration and Criminalization of Communities of Color

Decision Summary:

In a 5-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that if police detain anyone without cause and then find an outstanding warrant, the stop and search is deemed legal. If something incriminating is found on that person, the search can be admissible in court.  Arguing against the decision, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan said the ruling would strip the 7.8 million Americans that are currently in databases for outstanding warrants of their rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, a Constitutional guarantee.  In her dissenting opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said, “It is no secret that people of color are disproportionate victims of this type of scrutiny. For generations, [B]lack and [B]rown parents have given their children ‘the talk’—instructing them never to run down the street; always keep your hands where they can be seen; do not even think of talking back to a stranger—all out of fear of how an officer with a gun will react to them."

United Methodist Women Policy:

Through policies like the Charter for Racial Justice and the General Conference 2016 Resolution “Stop Criminalizing Communities of Color,” United Methodist Women is working to address the expanding implications of mass incarceration.  This Supreme Court decision further codifies into law the targeting and monitoring of, and restrictions on, people of color’s freedom of movement.  This decision comes at a time when, with over 2.3 million people in jail or prison and millions more on parole and probation, many are decrying the over-policing and over-incarceration of Black and Brown communities. 

Take Action:

Read the Reading Program book Link opens in a new window. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander to understand the historical realities and implications of the Supreme Court decision.  Also, find resources on how to address issues of police misconduct and accountability, created by your community at United Methodist Women’s partner, Link opens in a new window. SURJ:  Showing Up for Racial Justice.  You can also register to attend the Seminar on Mass Incarceration:  “Remember Those Who Are in Prison,” happening from August 10-14, 2016.  

Posted or updated: 6/30/2016 12:00:00 AM
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