Criminal Justice

People accused or convicted of crimes have fundamental rights, from interacting with the police to serving time in prison. The ACLU-NJ works to create criminal justice that is truly just.


The advance of technology presents both opportunities for and challenges to liberty. As new technologies are implemented, their impacts on civil liberties must be given consideration. The ACLU supports uses of technology that enhance privacy and freedom while opposing those that undermine liberty and move us closer to a surveillance society.


The ACLU-NJ fights racial inequalities and ethnic bias, from the most overt kinds of exclusion (in 2002, a teenager the ACLU-NJ represented was kept out of a swim club because of the color of her skin) to more subtle forms of discrimination (drug policies that in practice affect communities of color almost exclusively). We work to pass laws that protect all people from all backgrounds, and we work to help New Jersey's communities move beyond the legacy of racism.

Economic Justice

Access to the basic necessities of life is often a condition for exercising our rights and freedoms. The ACLU-NJ defends the rights of the poor.

Voting Rights & Elections

Free elections are essential to democracy. The ACLU-NJ protects everyone’s right to vote.

Free Speech & Expression

The right to express yourself regardless of the popularity your views is basic to a democratic society. Throughout its history, the ACLU has met challenges from officials who cite reasons old and new to restrict this right. We recognize that if one person can be silenced, all of us are at risk.

Immigrants' Rights

The Constitution guarantees basic rights and freedoms to all people in America, not just U.S. citizens. Advocating fair treatment for non-citizens has been an important part of the ACLU's work since its founding in 1920, when it opposed the summary arrest and deportation of Eastern European immigrants during the Palmer Raids.

LGBTQ Rights

Everyone deserves legal protections, regardless of who they love or the gender they’re assigned at birth. The ACLU-NJ stands up for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer-identifying, and questioning New Jerseyans.

National Security

In the name of national security, the government has created a comprehensive, unchecked information-sharing network that lacks accountability. Law enforcement agencies can now monitor, collect, and share individuals' phone calls, e-mails, and records without evidence of criminal activity.

Government Transparency

True democracy demands government transparency. The ACLU-NJ strengthens the public’s right to hold officials accountable.

Police Practices

Police have the vital and difficult job of protecting public safety. Performing this job effectively does not require sacrificing civil liberties. All New Jersey police agencies from the state patrol to city police forces need to respect the rights of individuals while enforcing the law. And when allegations of misconduct arise, there must be policies and mechanisms to hold police accountable for their actions.


The population in American prisons and jails has tripled in the past 15 years with the predictable consequence that facilities are overcrowded; medical systems are overwhelmed; work, education, and treatment programs are inadequate; and idleness and stress lead to greater levels of violence. We have fought and continue to fight these conditions through successful litigation on behalf of prisoners.


Our laws guarantee freedom from government intrusion into our personal space and personal lives. The ACLU-NJ works to strengthen privacy, especially as technology advances.

Religious Freedom

All Americans have the right to practice the religion of their choice or no religion at all, free from interference by or endorsement of the government. The ACLU works to safeguard individuals' rights to worship as they choose and to maintain the separation of religion and government as an essential bulwark of religious freedom.

Reproductive Freedom

The Constitution protects the right of individuals to make decisions about whether and when to become a parent, including the right to choose abortion, free from government interference. The ACLU seeks to maintain this fundamental right and opposes efforts to erode it with government-imposed restrictions.

Students' & Youth Rights

The ACLU-NJ defends students and young people whose civil liberties have come under assault, and we help young activists secure a future for freedom.

Other Battles for Civil Liberties

The ACLU carries out a mission to strengthen civil liberties and civil rights – rights that can be threatened from manifold sources, new and old.

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