Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice

Reform Drug Laws and End Private Prisons

I maintain that the criminal justice system is flawed and must be repaired. We must reduce the number of jailed non-violent offenders, eliminate for-profit prisons, and restore trust between law enforcement officials and the people they are sworn to protect.

The federal prison population grew almost eight fold since 1980 due to “The War on Drugs.” This false war produced millions of incarcerations but no reduction in drug use. The federal government should remove marijuana from the list of “Schedule 1” federally controlled substances so it can be appropriately regulated and legalized as many states are now doing. Those forward-looking states are reaping the tax benefits of what was once an unregulated, underground trade.

Policies allowing for more research on the medicinal uses of this plant must be supported. House Resolution 1227 amends the Controlled Substances Act to provide that the Act’s regulatory controls and administrative, civil, and criminal penalties do not apply to marijuana; it should be passed and signed into law.

We must end federal contracts with for-profit, private prisons and detention centers. These facilities only profit the corporations and the politicians that support them, not the communities in which they are located. The private prison industry supported the election campaign of the current administration.  Now they are being rewarded with inmates filling their beds by the Attorney General’s plan to arrest marijuana offenders in states where it has been made legal and by the unconscionable roundup of undocumented immigrants.

Prison reform must include realistic efforts to change prisons from criminal incubators to rehabilitation and learning centers.  Such changes will return inmates to society better able to be productive members of it.

We must rebuild the “bonds of trust” between local police, who are willing to risk their lives everyday, and the communities they patrol. Uniformed officers should wear body cameras for everyone’s protection.   We should have more training to reduce the use of deadly force. Finally, we must support improvements to public schools, including after school programs, that make children less likely to end up in prison and more likely to be productive citizens.

I oppose the death penalty because it is cruel and used disproportionately against poor people and people of color.

If  my vision reflects your vision, won’t you please volunteer for or contribute to our campaign?  Working together, our vision can become reality.