The Southern Poverty Law Center is committed to ending policies in Alabama’s schools and juvenile justice system that cut short the futures of young children. Too often harsh school discipline policies unnecessarily push students out of school and into the juvenile justice system.
Through litigation and grassroots campaigns, the Southern Poverty Law Center seeks to reform broken school systems. Based in Montgomery, our Alabama initiative targets harsh school discipline policies that criminalize ordinary student misbehavior. We also work to ensure students receive educational services in school that are required by law – services that can make the difference between incarceration and graduation. Our community advocates work with parents and local groups throughout Alabama to help parents understand their legal rights when it comes to their child’s education.
Alabama’s juvenile justice system is another priority. The SPLC seeks to reform facilities that criminalize children and, where possible, replace these facilities with proven alternatives that can get a young life back on track without separating the child from family and community.
Our work in Alabama is already meeting with success. Alabama’s juvenile justice code has been rewritten and the SPLC has played a key role in detention and probation reform. Children in Alabama are no longer incarcerated for non-criminal, status offenses, such as truancy and curfew violations. The state’s juvenile prison population has been dramatically reduced. But there is still much work to be done. The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to reforming destructive policies and providing Alabama’s children with an opportunity for a brighter future.