Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren has just revealed her detailed plan to help reduce mass incarceration by reimagining how we talk and think about public safety in America.
On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Democrat unveiled policies to combat the myth that public safety and mass incarceration lead to safer communities. The system of mass incarceration has proven to disproportionately jail more Black and brown Americans. Black people are still 3.6x more likely to be incarcerated nationally compared to white people.
The Oklahoma City native even tweeted statistics about those increasing mass incarceration rates.
The U.S. makes up 5% of the world's population, but nearly 20% of the world's prison population. And the evidence is clear that there are structural race problems in our criminal justice system. At every level, the system disadvantages or discriminates against people of color.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 20, 2019
To change the current climate, the former law school professor wants to launch accessible mental health services, resources to protect LGBTQ community from violence and implement youth intervention programs with safe, affordable housing.
She also tweeted how she wants to change what’s considered criminal, including legalizing recreational marijuana.
Next, we have to rethink what we choose to criminalize. That starts with repealing the 1994 crime bill—the bulk of which needs to go—and legalizing marijuana. Overcriminalization has filled prisons and devastated communities—and it's time for it to end.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 20, 2019
Warren’s plan didn’t stop there, as she blasted the current justice system for issuing criminal penalties due to poverty.
We also have to stop criminalizing poverty. As president, I will fight to end cash bail and limit excessive fines and fees. There’s no justice in imposing high, punitive financial burdens on those who are least able to bear them.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 20, 2019
The mother of two also called for the repeal of the 1994 crime bill, which was considered one of her rival 2020 Democrat Joe Biden’s most successful achievements as a Delaware senator. The bill has since became associated with the rise in mass incarceration.
In her plan, Warren mentioned that the crime bill’s mandatory minimums for incarcerated people should be drastically reduced or eliminated due to its ineffectiveness.
Research conducted by David Roodman of the Open Philanthropy Project’s David Roodman in 2017 revealed that releasing prisoners earlier does not lead to more crime and that holding people in prison longer may actually increase crime.
Once those incarcerated are released back into society, Warren called for initiatives to help support their transition. Those proposals include creating a federal expungement option, allowing offender’s criminal records to be essentially thrown out.
The presidential candidate has been an open supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and reforming how communities of color are policed. She also proposes banning private prisons, who solely profit off the amount of incarcerated, eliminating the death penalty and cutting out solitary confinement.
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