The outcome of the presidential election of 2016 will have a significant impact upon criminal justice reform. The remaining Republican candidates are silent about repairing our broken system of justice. With Gov. Christie and Sen. Rand withdrawing from the presidential race, do not expect any effort on the part of Mr. Trump and Sen. Cruz to make much needed changes to our broken system of criminal justice.
The United States has almost 25% of the world’s inmates despite only having 5% of the world’s population. Our country has more prisons and jails than Russia and China. 2.3 million inmates in the United states 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.
There are numerous reasons for our mass incarceration. 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. Fourth, no more debtor’s prisons ( unfair bail and unreasonable fines). The list goes on……
Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, have advocated prison reform. Both candidates have called for reform of a justice system that has the most inmates and prisons in the world. Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, wants to end private prisons. 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.”
Both democratic candidates support “Ban the Box” legislation which calls for employers not to ask job applicants about their criminal history on employment applications. This important change would allow an individual with a criminal record an opportunity for a job interview. Employed returning citizens do not become recidivism statistics.
Vote Democratic–Vote Criminal Justice Reform.
Founder of prisonpath.com