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WEEK 3: CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
Today's topic: Minnesota
Minnesota has an incarceration rate of 364 to 100,000 people – that means our state locks up a higher percentage of its people than many wealthy democracies do. Today we offer a glimpse into the challenges women in Minnesota face when released from prison prison and explore why  Minnesota’s parole system fails to earn a passing grade We also look at the challenges the State faces to institute police reform.  
WE CHALLENGE YOU TO TAKE...
21,000 of Minnesota’s residents are locked up in facilities ranging from county jails and juvenile detention facilities, to federal prisons. To see where these residents are being held, check out these infographics.
Who’s helping the 37,128 women released from Minnesota prisons and jails each year? Women make up a growing share of incarcerated populations, and they have different needs than men. Accordingly, some prison systems have begun to implement gender-responsive policies and programs. But what happens after release?
About 4.5 million people in the United States are on probation or parole supervision — double the number of people locked up. If this population were its own city, it would be the second largest in the country. In Minnesota, more than half of state prison admissions are the result of violations of probation or parole. These challenges, if not addressed, will keep our prison populations stubbornly high.
Minnesota, where George Floyd’s killing by police triggered protests for racial justice in the state and around the world, may struggle to pass police reform. Why is this the case?
ACT | CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM WEEK
Level I: Think about whether calling the police is the best response in any situation before automatically making the call. Compile and keep a list of local hotlines and services that may be better equipped to respond to situations involving mental health, substance abuse, homelessness or other social problems. Add these resources to your phone contact list and use them when appropriate.
Level II: Research how the communities that you are a part of interact with police systems: your City, your State, your children's school, your workplace. Do these communities have disparities in arrest rates or incarceration? Do these communities have policies that prevent over-policing or excessive use of force? Are health policies that meet the needs of female inmates in place? Write a letter to the leaders of your communities and share your concerns.
Level III: Find a local reentry program that helps formerly incarcerated individuals successfully transition to their community upon release and get involved by volunteering or donating in support of their work.
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YWCA St. Paul is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. YWCA St. Paul is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.