For the first time in modern presidential campaigns, presidential candidates are calling for criminal justice reform. The United States has almost 25% of the world’s inmates, despite having only 5% of the world’s population. 2.3 million inmates are imprisoned in our state, local, and federal prisons. Approximately another 4.8 million individuals are supervised by parole and/or probation. The American system of justice is broken.
The almost 7 million individuals, who are incarcerated and/or supervised in their community, have millions of family members and friends who can vote in the 2016 election. This sizable voting bloc constitutes millions of voters. It is time for this group of voters to vote for reform of our criminal justice system.
There are many factors contributing to this broken system. First, we should recognize that addiction is a health issue and not a criminal offense. Second, nonviolent mentally ill offenders should not be incarcerated in our jails and prisons, but instead receive effective mental health care in our local communities. Third, it is time to end the unfair targeting of minorities. The list goes on……
Two Republican candidates had called for justice reform. Sen.Rand Paul demanded the end of our overcrowded prisons. Governor Christie had advocated prison reform as a way to save tax dollars. Both Sen. Rand and Gov. Christie have withdrawn from the presidential race for 2016.
Republican Candidate Trump is silent on prison reform and ending our mass incarceration crisis.
Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton has advocated prison reform. She has called for change to a justice system that has the most inmates and prisons in the world. Hillary Clinton, in her April 2015 speech on criminal justice reform, listed five points which included ending our era of mass incarceration by finding, “alternative punishments for low-level offenders.”At the Democratic convention, candidate Clinton renewed her call for reform of our broken system of justice.
It is time for inmate’s families and friends to form a voting bloc in favor of Democratic presidential candidate Clinton who believes in reform of our criminal justice system. In 2000, the presidential election was decided by 537 votes in Florida. Inmate’s families and friends number in the millions and their votes can decide the election of 2016.
Founder of prisonpath.com