Our Justice system has been used for too long as a battering ram against the poor and minorities. We must return to the concept of Justice applied evenly without regard to socioeconomic standing.
Our country has been over-incarcerating generations of young men and women of color, particularly in our black community. The privatization of prisons in America and the massive profits derived from these practices must stop. Recently the Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been on a crusade to bring back MANDATORY MINIMUMS. This is appalling and we are at a tipping point of drastically increasing misguided crime policies, like nonviolent drug offenders who really need mental health care or addiction recovery programs, not jail. And a large percentage of Americans in prison are people of color. There is a lot of money in “keeping Americans jailed”. We need to remove the profit motive from any business that does not serve the best interest of people – whether it’s keeping them sick, or keeping them jailed.
The problem is:
- US prison population is over 2.3 million. While we only have 5% of world’s population, we house 25% of the global prison population.
- 1 in every 31 American adults is under some sort of correctional control. We have more people behind bars than any other country in the world.
- Our current system perpetuates racial bias – 1 in 3 black men can expect to go to prison, compared to 1 in 17 white men.
- Prison doesn’t reform prisoners, it only exacerbates the problem, causing decreased literacy, higher school dropout rates, and more crime.
We need to focus on the root cause of crime in the first place - primarily lack of education, combined with untreated mental health issues and drug addiction. I will fight to prevent big corporations from making profits off the suffering of the poor and communities of color.
- Make sure that prisons remain under the purview of the government. There should be no profit motive in keeping people jailed.
- The war on drugs is not working. We need alternative sentencing for non-violent drug crimes. Treatment, not punishment, is one piece of the puzzle.
- We need to focus on basic economic theory. Lack of opportunity, the inability to access a decent education, lack of health care, lack of affordable housing and homelessness is increasing in many areas of the 48th district. Funding for preventing what are the roots of crime - drug addiction, mental health issues, lack of education, lack of jobs & specific training for those jobs - must become a priority and I will fight for that.
- Propose bills to put people to work, rebuilding modern, sustainable electric & transportation infrastructure-of-the-future, with job training programs and apprenticeship programs for at-risk youths to work in those jobs.