Four words are etched above the Supreme Court: Equal Justice Under Law.
But today in America, there’s one justice system for the rich and powerful, and another one for everybody else.
It’s not equal justice when a kid with an ounce of pot can get thrown in jail, while a bank executive who launders money for a drug cartel can get a bonus. It’s not equal justice when, for the exact same crimes, Black Americans are more likely than whites to be arrested, charged, wrongfully convicted, and given harsher sentences. Right now, Latinx adults are three times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. And the United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world.
So today I’m proposing a plan to reduce incarceration and improve justice in our country. We need to change what we choose to criminalize, reform police behavior, rein in prosecutorial abuses, improve how we treat people when they’re incarcerated, reintegrate them when they return to our communities, and more.
Add your name if you agree: It’s long past time for bold, structural change to reform our criminal justice system.
ADD YOUR NAME:
It’s long past time for bold, structural change to reform our criminal justice system.
Here’s my plan:
1. Reimagine how we talk and think about public safety. My plan focuses on transitioning away from a punitive system and investing in evidence-based approaches that address the underlying drivers of violence and crime — tackling it at its roots, before it ever has a chance to grow.
This includes breaking the school-to-prison pipeline, reducing homelessness and housing insecurity through my housing plan, decriminalizing mental health crises, and focusing on interventions that don’t require incarceration.
2. Change what we choose to criminalize — starting by repealing the 1994 crime bill. It exacerbated incarceration rates in this country by punishing people more severely for even minor infractions and limiting discretion in charging and sentencing in our judicial system. There are some sections of law, like those relating to domestic violence, that should be retained — but the bulk of the law must go.
My plan also involves a new approach to the War on Drugs — which has harmed communities of color — by decriminalizing marijuana and erasing past convictions. It will also end the criminalization poverty by ending cash bail and excessive fines and fees.
3. Reform how the law is enforced. My plan will fundamentally change how police work is done in America. We’ll increase federal oversight capacity, establish a federal standard for the use of force, and work with Congress to pass legislation to prohibit profiling at all levels of law enforcement. And to hold police officers accountable if they violate someone’s constitutional rights, we should restrict qualified immunity.
Real reform also means expanding funding for public defenders, reining in prosecutorial abuses such as coercive plea bargaining, and creating an independent unit to hold accountable prosecutors who abuse their power. We’ll also expand access to justice for people who are wrongfully imprisoned by repealing overly restrictive habeas rules and make it easier to successfully challenge wrongful detention.
4. Fight harsh and immoral sentencing practices and reform incarceration. As president, I’ll use the pardon and clemency powers broadly to right systemic injustices — empowering a clemency board to make recommendations directly to the White House for broad classes of potentially deserving individuals for review — including people who would have benefited from retroactivity under the First Step Act, who are jailed under outdated or discriminatory drug laws, or those serving mandatory minimums that should be abolished.
We should support improved staffing levels and better training for corrections officers, and humane conditions for those behind bars. As president, I will ensure that incarceration meets basic human rights standards, protect special populations, and eliminate private prisons.
5. Set formerly incarcerated individuals up for success. The period after release from prison can be challenging for those returning. During this critical period, they are more likely to be unemployed, more likely to be rearrested, more likely to overdose, and more likely to die. As president, I will remove barriers that hamper reentry for formerly incarcerated people who have served their time — from the restrictions on occupational licensing, to housing, to the disenfranchisement of over 3 million returning citizens.
In order to create real law and order and real justice in our country, we need a structural reform of the system.
I’m ready to tackle this crisis head on, but it’s going to take a grassroots movement. Add your name to support this plan, and be in this fight.
Thanks for being a part of this,
Elizabeth doesn’t accept contributions from PACs of any kind or federally registered lobbyists. This grassroots movement is powered by supporters like you. Chip in now to help build our movement.