July 21, 2015
By Richard Trumka
Washington, DC — Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka July 16, 2015 on President Obama’s speech to the NAACP: President Obama took a powerful step towards reforming our criminal justice system. He will send an even stronger signal on his commitment to this issue by becoming the first U.S. president to visit a federal prison.
The United States currently spends billions incarcerating millions of people, the majority of whom are people of color. These policies have resulted in a permanent criminal class. We have selectively locked people up, sealed people out and shut entire communities down. It is past time for a complete overhaul of this country’s criminal justice system.
Together with our allies, the labor movement is dedicated to shifting the focus away from punishment and towards educational opportunities that help people change their lives and get back on track. Labor will continue to fight until every man and woman in the United States has access to a fair criminal justice system that focuses on providing rehabilitation and leads to employment.