Over the years, the ACLU of Rhode Island has issued a number of reports examining racial disparities in certain areas of public interaction with the government, including traffic stops and school suspension rates. Each report has revealed statistical evidence to back up the anecdotal evidence: significant racial disparities exist, and community concerns about racial profiling have a basis in fact.
Despite this growing body of evidence and consistent work by many to address these disparities, Rhode Island has lacked a comprehensive response to these issues. Worse, even as these disparities persist in the background, too many people refuse to acknowledge their presence and their damaging effects.
This campaign is a series of reports highlighting the “school-to-prison-pipeline,” a governmental pattern of pushing students, usually racial minorities, out of school and into the criminal justice system. The disparities experienced in elementary school beget the ones in the juvenile justice system, are exacerbated by those in traffic stops, which in turn are connected to those in arrests and, finally, in the makeup of the prison population.