Criminal Justice Reform
The United States of America has more people in prison than any other nation in the world, and the highest per-capita prison population in the world. We have more people in prison per capita than both China and Russia, neither of whom are known for being great democracies. Why, in the so-called “land of the free” do we have so many people in prison?
This trend is even more troubling when you look at the demographics of who is going to prison. African Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, and trans* people are incarcerated disproportionately when compared to the nation’s population as a whole. Minorities are also more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested, charged, tried, convicted, incarcerated, or simply killed by police. These are very disturbing trends.
People shouldn't be profiled for their race, their ethnicity, their religion or their gender identity. People shouldn't feel like they are being targeted for walking, driving, boarding an airplane, or even shopping while they are black, brown, Muslim or Trans*. All people deserve to be treated fairly and equally by the criminal justice system.
We also need to end private prisons. There should not be a profit motive behind incarcerating people. As prison populations increase, for-profit prisons make more money. This creates incentives to imprison as many people for as long as possible. Consequently, the prison industry lobbies our legislators to pass “tough on crime” laws that lead to longer sentences, often for non-violent offenses. All of this creates a criminal justice system that is based on profits rather than rehabilitation.
We need to seriously reform our justice system in this country. We need to change the way we train our police officers, and refocus our criminal justice system on rehabilitation.