LID Discusses Criminal Justice

On September 24, 2015, LID met to have a discussion focused on criminal justice. We know that the way the LGBTQ community and people living with HIV and AIDS are treated by law enforcement is of great concern. From police profiling of trans women of color as sex workers and the use of condoms as evidence to the violence LGBTQ people face in custody, criminal justice reform is important for the LGBT movement.


In all but two states, voting age citizens convicted of a felony are barred from voting for some period of time. Laws vary in each state. While many states restore voting rights to individuals automatically after they exit jail or prison, others permanently disenfranchise people with a past felony conviction or require they petition the government to have their right restored. Visit Nonprofit Vote for more info.

A yearlong NPR investigation found that the costs of the criminal justice system in the United States are paid increasingly by the defendants and offenders. It's a practice that causes the poor to face harsher treatment than others who commit identical crimes and can afford to pay. Some judges and politicians fear the trend has gone too far.

  • In at least 43 states and the District of Columbia, defendants can be billed for a public defender.
  • In at least 41 states, inmates can be charged room and board for jail and prison stays.
  • In at least 44 states, offenders can get billed for their own probation and parole supervision.
  • And in all states except Hawaii, and the District of Columbia, there's a fee for the electronic monitoring devices defendants and offenders are ordered to wear.

In New York, almost 120,000 black men between the ages of 25 and 54 are missing from everyday life. In Chicago, 45,000 are, and more than 30,000 are missing in Philadelphia. Across the South — from North Charleston, S.C., through Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi and up into Ferguson, Mo. — hundreds of thousands more are missing. They are missing, largely because of early deaths or because they are behind bars. Check out more from the NYTimes


Who Pays? The True Cost of Incarceration on Families? A national led community-driven report led by the Ella-Baker Center for Human Rights, Forward Together, and Research Action Design.

Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations for Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People Living with HIV.

Millions to the Polls: The Right to Vote for Formerly Incarcerated Persons

  • Nearly six million people are denied the right to vote due to felony offenses, even if they have completed their sentences.
  • One out of every 13 eligible African Americans of voting age has lost their right to vote.
  • States should not permanently take away the freedom to vote from any citizen. At a bare minimum, the right to vote should be automatically restored once a person is released from incarceration.


The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence. SRLP is a collective organization founded on the understanding that gender self-determination is inextricably intertwined with racial, social and economic justice. 

Black & Pink is an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and “free world” allies who support each other. Their work toward the abolition of the prison industrial complex is rooted in the experience of currently and formerly incarcerated people. The organization is outraged by the specific violence of the prison industrial complex against LGBTQ people, and responds through advocacy, education, direct service, and organizing.

New York City Jails Action Coalition is a coalition of activists that includes the formerly incarcerated, currently incarcerated, family members and other community members working to promote human rights, dignity and safety for people in New York City jails.

Fortune Society was founded in 1967 to create a world where all who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated can become positive, contributing members of society. The organization does this through a holistic, one-stop model of service provision. Fortune serves approximately 4,500 men and women annually.

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