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“The American criminal-legal system is a stain on our democracy..
This system replicates and reinforces patterns of racial and economic oppression that trace from slavery, including Black Codes, convict leasing, Jim Crow laws, and the War on Drugs. The result is a criminal-legal bureaucracy that denies millions of people the opportunities, legal equality, and human rights that they deserve, even as it fuels the world’s highest incarceration rate.
This platform envisions a new paradigm for public safety that respects the humanity, dignity, and human rights of all people. We propose a holistic framework that expands our view of public safety and prioritizes upfront investments in noncarceral programs and social services, including additional resources for education, housing, employment, health care, social-emotional supports, and other public benefits. We believe that this paradigm not only furthers equity, but also constitutes effective policy: When we stop using criminal “justice” policy as social policy, we make our communities safer, more prosperous, and better at ensuring opportunity.
This platform offers concrete solutions spanning every stage of the criminal-legal process, yielding a comprehensive framework for transformation. We believe that this comprehensive approach is necessary: Transforming the American criminal-legal system requires dramatic decarceration and a cohesive pathway to do so, not piecemeal reforms that tinker around the margins. We created the Vision for Justice: 2020 and Beyond to offer exactly this prescription.
Even with this comprehensive and unified approach, Vision for Justice: 2020 and Beyond is only a starting point. The United States leads the world in imprisoning or supervising more than 6.6 million people While ripping moms, dads, and loved ones from their families every day. This bureaucracy will not vanish overnight. Even if we reduced our incarcerated population by 80 percent, we would barely reach the U.S. incarceration rate from 40 years ago. A new paradigm for public safety requires not only the solutions enumerated here, but also an ongoing commitment to further reforms.”