Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, the ACLU of Iowa is working to make sure all Iowans are treated fairly, no matter what their racial background is.
Preventing racial profiling by law enforcement
Along with partner organizations, the ACLU of Iowa is fighting against racial profiling and discriminatory policing. We believe it’s past time to pass meaningful state-wide legislation to stop racial profiling.
Challenging the "school-to-prison pipeline"
We are committed to challenging the “school-to-prison pipeline,” a disturbing national trend wherein children, especially students of color and students with disabilities, are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal legal systems. This often starts with an interaction with a School Resource Officer (SRO), an armed city police officer embedded in local schools, sometimes even in elementary school. There is little evidence that SROs keep schools safer, but there is ample evidence that they disproportionately arrest Black students. It's time to stop spending money on SROs in our schools and instead invest in social workers and counselors, who can do far more to prevent student problems with far better outcomes for everyone involved.
Helping end felony disenfranchisement
Along with partner organizations, we fought for years to end Iowa’s destructive and draconian disenfranchisement laws. Before Gov. Reynolds signed an executive order restoring voting eligibility to Iowans with felony convictions in their background, nearly one in 10 Black Iowans were barred from the ballot box.
Exposed racial disparities in marijuana arrests
We have documented that Iowa consistently ranks as one of the worst states in the country for racial disparities of marijuana arrests. As of 2018, a Black person is 7.3 times more likely to be arrested for drugs than a white person.
Fighting for police accountability
We are working for better policies governing body cameras and footage by police.
Opposing mass incarceration
We released a report that outlined how Iowa could cut in half the number of incarcerated people by pursuing reforms to its criminal legal system.
Advocating for a common-sense immigration process
We fight for a common-sense immigration process based on liberty, justice, and due process for all that includes new paths to citizenship for the 40,000 undocumented immigrants in Iowa, including Black and Brown immigrants.