A coalition of additional than 100 civil rights groups—including ACLU, NAACP, National Education Association and National Organization for Women—released a criminal justice reform platform for the 2020 elections on Thursday that calls for the legalization of marijuana and supports the “dismantling” of the criminalization of other drugs.
As element of the document’s plank on ending the war on drugs, the organizations stated states really should “legalize marijuana by way of a racial justice framework that focuses on access, equity, and repairing the harm of prohibition” and the federal government really should finish cannabis prohibition and “implement marijuana reform by way of a racial justice lens.”
They pointed to a bill lately introduced by Home Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) as an instance of legalization legislation that would meet their regular.
But due to the fact passing such a bill will take time, the coalition stated the Justice Division really should right away reinstate Obama-era guidance that directed federal prosecutors to typically keep out of the way of state cannabis law implementation.
The platform, known as “Vision for Justice 2020 and Beyond,” also encourages decriminalizing possession of all drugs as properly as specific trafficking offenses that “over the final 40 years have brought on an explosion in our incarcerated population.”
But the groups stated even basic decriminalization is not adequate and argued that officials really should “work toward dismantling the existing paradigm of drug criminalization and replacing the existing program with a regulatory strategy that treats substance use as a public overall health challenge.”
That would be accomplished by way of “investments in health-related care, mental overall health care, neighborhood empowerment, and other proof-primarily based wellness practices that lessen overdose deaths, such as syringe and naloxone applications, drug checking, secure consumption spaces, and medication-assisted therapy.”
“The failed War on Drugs has devastated thousands of communities, specifically these of colour, whilst overwhelming our jails and prisons. We will have to right away finish these failed policies and proactively invest in these communities that have been harmed most.”
The groups also stated that the Drug Enforcement Administration really should be overhauled and all federal agencies dealing with drugs really should take a public overall health strategy to the challenge that focuses on harm reduction and therapy.
Funds saved by implementing these reform proposals really should be utilised “to rebuild these communities that have been most broken by the War on Drugs, like by giving sources to address addiction and other behavioral overall health troubles,” the platform states.
In addition to these drug-precise policy positions, the coalition also desires to “dismantle and reverse all dangerous policies” of the 1994 crime bill that former Vice President Joe Biden (D) helped author and replace them with a “modern 21st century public security bill.”
Civil asset forfeiture, for-profit prisons, mandatory minimum sentences and the death penalty really should also be ended, says the platform, which was shared with presidential candidates.
“The U.S. incarcerates additional men and women than any other created nation, with additional than six.six million men and women beneath some kind of institutionalized restraint—an undue proportion of whom are Brown or Black,” Vanita Gupta, president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which led the 117 groups that signed onto the platform, stated in a press release. “We basically can’t reside up to the values we profess if we do not finish mass incarceration and do away with the deep racial bias entrenched in the existing program.”
BREAKING: With @CivRightsCorps & 115 other orgs, we released a platform for the 2020 state & federal elections proposing a vision for transforming our criminal-legal program into a single that respects the humanity, dignity & rights of ALL: https://t.co/eJDKby4Tcb #VisionForJustice2020 pic.twitter.com/cV6K2B4R3Q
— The Leadership Conference (@civilrightsorg) September 5, 2019
“We present this extensive roadmap to build a new way to strategy public security, rebalancing spending and prioritizing upfront investments in the communities that most urgently want them,” she stated. “It is time to take away the stain that has lingered on our democracy as a outcome of an excessively punitive program. The options we present are actionable tools we can use to commence that method.”
The groups also expressed concern about criminal laws targeting poverty, mental overall health, disability and homelessness.
“All reforms will have to create decarceral final results and function to finish racial and financial inequity,” they stated. “All reforms, as they shrink the criminal-legal program, will have to invest sources in these communities that have been most harmed by mass incarceration and mass criminalization.”
Voting rights really should be restored for these at the moment and formerly incarcerated, restrictions on issues like public housing and employment really should be eliminated and misdemeanor convictions really should be automatically sealed and expunged, they stated. The platform also states that specific felony convictions really should be expunged more than time.
“Throughout the history of this nation, the American program of criminal punishment has been utilised to perpetuate white supremacy, market inequality, and handle marginalized men and women,” Alec Karakatsanis, founder of Civil Rights Corps, one more signee, stated. “Vision for Justice lays out actionable policy options to commence dismantling these dangerous systems and commence meaningful reinvestment in the communities that have been devastated by the program as it stands.”
Other signatories contain civil rights groups Colour Of Modify, Drug Policy Alliance, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Innocence Project, Lambda Legal, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Beneath Law, MomsRising, National Action Network, National Association of Social Workers, Persons For the American Way, The Legal Help Society and The Southern Poverty Law Center.
“The therapy of communities of colour in the criminal-legal program is the most profound civil rights crisis facing America in the 21st century,” they wrote. “This platform seeks to take away this moral stain on our democracy by supplying precise, measurable methods to commence to transform the program.”
New Work Aims To Erase A Quarter Of A Million Marijuana Convictions From Records
Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.