We need to end the private prison industry and reform drug laws.
America has an incarceration problem. Our nation imprisons more of its own people than any other nation in the world. Even as the crime rate is on a steady decline, incarceration rates continue to climb. It is often the most vulnerable communities that pay the price for unequal policing and sentencing practices. Incarceration rates are skewed in favor of targeting minorities with longer sentences and higher arrest rates. We need to fix our broken criminal justice system now, or else deal with the social and economic consequences of inaction. We support providing for social reintegration programs for victims of mass incarceration to ensure they have the medical care and skill sets needed to successfully reintegrate into society and reduce recidivism rates.
We acknowledge the War on Drugs has been a failure. It has not fixed, but rather, exacerbated our country’s massive drug problem. We must treat addiction as a healthcare issue, not a criminal problem. Resources that are currently used to arrest and punish drug users could be redirected to help those same users overcome their addictions. Cities like Seattle and countries like Portugal have been at the forefront of these public health centered reforms, the latter’s number of drug users having been halved over the course of a decade (from 100,000 in 2001 to 40,000 in 2011).