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Criminal justice

We have gone too far with the prison-industrial-complex which perpetuates racial and economic injustice. We need to make the system smaller, less punitive, and more oriented around metrics of successful rehabilitation.

The United States has the world’s highest incarceration rate1 and California has one of the country’s highest youth incarceration rates2.

As your elected representative, Agatha will seek critical reforms to our criminal justice system so that efforts and resources are focused on reducing new criminal behavior, rather than expanding the current system of social control. Priorities include reforming our supervision system of probation and parole and bringing an end to the war on drugs, mandatory minimums, cash bail, and the death penalty.

One of the most dangerous and prevailing myths in our society is that of racial difference. It’s a narrative that has been adapted to justify first the colonization of Native land, then slavery and Jim Crow, and now, the school-to-prison pipeline, over-policing of black and brown communities, and mass incarceration. Statistics show us that while black Americans are only 13% of the American population and commit crimes at similar rates to other demographics, they comprise 40% of the incarcerated population. If we believe that equal justice under the law is the ultimate expression of democracy, then surely the weakest point of our democracy is our two-tiered justice system that treats people better if they are rich and guilty than poor and innocent.

Imprisonment distracts us from underlying social problems such as racism, poverty, unemployment, and lack of education. Let’s tackle the root causes behind our soaring rates of incarceration head on. Instead of spending $80 billion3 to incarcerate more than two million of our neighbors, let’s spend money on increasing graduation rates and restorative justice practices. Let’s invest in equal justice for all Americans.

References

  1. Roy Walmsley, ”World Prison Population List (10th Edition)”, International Centre for Prison Studies (ICPS), 2013

  2. ”America's Addiction to Juvenile Incarceration: State by State”, ACLU, 2013

  3. “Does the U.S. Spend $80 Billion a Year on Incarceration?”, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Dec 23, 2015