Criminal Justice Reform
We Have 2.2 million People Behind Bars
Our criminal justice system needs reform on every level. In the U.S., we have 2.2 million people behind bars, and a total of 7 million people under supervision. Due to the failed war on drugs and various administrations' "law and order" policies, we have perpetuated this "New Jim Crow" of mass incarceration. Statistically, a black man who doesn't finish high school today is more likely to end up incarcerated than employed. Depending on location, a black man is 4 to 15 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white man, despite the same rates of usage. As a former corrections officer and a former director of a successful anti-recidivism program, I will work for a criminal justice system that is just for everyone. Congress must reform our criminal justice by:
- Increasing funding for programs that support indigent defense, to avoid potential detention for low level offenses; eliminate the criminalization of poverty; and promote diversion into substance treatment, mental health treatment, and special courts for veterans and for juveniles. We must also allocate funds to reduce incarceration rates and levels and end the war on drugs.
- Reforming policies that lead to the incarceration of juveniles for minor offenses that subject them to abuse, neglect, and prosecution in the adult criminal justice system.
- Ensuring all prisoners are treated humanely, and ending blanket sentencing like 3 strikes and mandatory minimum sentencing.
- Reassessing and reforming our nation's drug laws and treating drug usage as a public health issue rather than a criminal one.
- Reforming policing policies to eliminate racial profiling, excessive force, unconstitutional forfeiture laws, unreasonable search and seizure, police corruption, and police militarization.
- Abolishing policing for profit as well as prison for profit, and the privatization of our entire criminal justice system.
- Promoting improved training and practices of de-escalation and collaboration with the community, for the safety and well-being of all.
Statistically, a black man who doesn't finish high school today is more likely to end up incarcerated than employed.