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Program Information
 Building Bridges 
 
 Weekly Program
 Professor Peter Edelman, policy maker, and law professor at Georgetown University Law Center, specializing in the fields of poverty, welfare, juvenile justice, and constitutional law and author of Not a Crime to Be Poor
 Ken Nash and Mimi Rosenberg  
 See Notes.
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The Criminalization of Poverty in America
with
Professor Peter Edelman, policy maker, and law professor at Georgetown University Law Center, specializing in the fields of poverty, welfare, juvenile justice, and constitutional law and author of Not a Crime to Be Poor

In Brooklyns Boerum Hill, lines were moving slowly in the packed, drab gray building. Jazmine Headley just wanted to get a voucher for city-funded day care so she could find someone to look after her 1-year-old son, while she went to work as a cleaner. Instead, Headley, 23, ended up behind bars, because sick and tired of being sick and tired the young mother sat on the floor because there were no more seats available in the crowded room.

Next, Headley was lying on the floor, surrounded by New York police officers and security guards, holding her 1-year-old son firmly in her arms as the officers forcibly tried to yank the child away. Theyre hurting my son, she screams again and again. One officer pulls out a stun gun. Headley was charged with resisting arrest, acting in a manner injurious to a child, obstructing governmental administration and criminal trespass. Letitia James, now the New York State Attorney General commented, No mother should have to experience such trauma and humiliation. Being poor is not a crime. But, actually it is!


In Ferguson Missouri, in addition to exposing racially biased policing, the Justice Departments Ferguson Report exposed to the world a system of fines and fees levied for minor crimes, that, when they proved too expensive for Fergusons largely poor, African American population, resulted in jail sentences for thousands of people.

Ferguson is everywhere in America today. Through money bail systems, fees and fines, strictly enforced laws and regulations against behavior including trespassing and public urination that largely affect the homeless, and the substitution of prisons and jails for the mental hospitals that have traditionally served the impoverished, in one of the richest countries on earth we have effectively made it a crime to be poor.

We're Building Bridges to Prof. Peter Edelman, who famously resigned from the administration of Bill Clinton over welfare "reform," who discusses his new book Not a Crime to Be Poor. Edelman connects the dots between these policies and others including school discipline in poor communities, child support policies affecting the poor, public housing ordinances, addiction treatment, and the specter of public benefits fraud to paint a picture of a mean-spirited, retributive system that seals whole communities into inescapable cycles of poverty and then criminalizes the residents of those communities.
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produced by Ken Nash and Mimi Rosenberg
please notify us if you plan to broadcast this program -knash@igc.org

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00:28:04 English 2019-02-01
 New York City
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00:28:04 English 2019-02-01
 New York,
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