Southern Poverty Law Center, Montgomery, Alabama
MONTGOMERY, Ala. –(ENEWSPF)–September 27, 2016. The following statement regarding the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program’s annual Crime in the United States report, released September 26, 2016, is from Lisa Graybill, deputy legal director at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“The FBI’s latest findings show that crime rates remain at historic lows: 2015 was the third-lowest year for violent crime in the past 20 years. It’s clear, however, that the increase in violent crime in impoverished and highly segregated parts of cities demands urgent attention. Those communities have suffered for far too long.
“There are some who will likely use the new statistics to attack bipartisan efforts to reform our criminal justice system and to smear a social justice movement. Polling shows that a majority of Americans incorrectly believe that crime has been on the rise in the past 10 years.
“We can’t afford to allow a misunderstanding or a deliberately stoked overreaction to crime to drive our policymaking any longer. “Tough on crime” policies have condemned millions to overly long, counterproductive prison sentences and have even criminalized the act of being poor. And, as we’ve seen across America, people are being racially profiled and killed for no justifiable reason, with alarming frequency, during routine encounters with police.
“To achieve justice in our communities and roll back the failed system of mass incarceration, we must stay clear-eyed about the causes and strike at the root: the legacy of racism in our institutions and the growing chasm between the rich and poor.”