Transportation Access and the Criminal Legal System

Equal access to reliable transportation is essential for safe communities, economic stability, and public health. Transportation isn’t just the ability to move from place to place, it’s the ability to work, go to school, secure healthy food, get to doctor’s appointments, and find housing. 

It’s also the ability to access our legal system, and to comply with its mandates. Lack of access to transportation—which mostly impacts poor people—increases the likelihood of criminal legal system contact through police surveillance of public transit, the criminalization of poverty, and the targeting of Black drivers. Once a person has become entrapped in the criminal legal system, transportation plays a role in every stage of the process: from being able to physically get to court and court-mandated meetings to the difficulty of getting back on your feet post-release, lacking access to transportation is an enormous barrier to stability.

We've got all the shocking ways lack of transit is fueling incarceration in our report below, as well as some policy recommendations to help more people thrive. Click to read!

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