The Mandate for Civil Rights and Justice Reform
Ballot measures across the nation have demanded reforms to long entrenched laws that unfairly punish people of color and other minority groups. The challenges to these decades-old policies have strong public support, with nearly 70 percent of Americans in favor of overhauling the criminal justice system. What measures should such an overhaul encompass, and what should the public demand of the Biden-Harris administration?
Terminating the War on Drugs
One key imperative is to cease the endless war on drugs that was sold to the American people years ago as a panacea to the drug issues impacting our country. Instead of sending state and federal prosecutors after drug offenders, treatment options should be bolstered to address addiction issues. The MORE Act of 2019 should quickly be passed, which would take marijuana off of the scheduled substances list and expunge arrest and conviction records related to marijuana.
Put an End to Private Prisons
Prisons should not be money-making operations. Period. When profit concerns supersede those of security, rehabilitation, and safety, the incarcerated are not the only ones who pay the price. Communities are left holding the bag when inmates are released after having suffered at the hand of corporate greed.
Rethink Surveillance Initiatives
According to the Brookings Institution, recidivism rates are not being reduced with higher rates of supervision, including ankle monitoring. And the truth is, this e-carceration is thought by many to simply be one more way to hold back communities of color. The pre-trial risk assessments, after all, have underlying bias, leading to negative impacts on the poor and those of color. Meanwhile, corporate coffers are growing as the companies who design such monitoring products thrive.
Reduce Pretrial Detention
Instead of pretrial detention, support services should be provided to address any issues that underlie one’s inability to show up for court dates. Instead of the presumption of detention, there should be a presumption of innocence prior to convictions for all but the most egregious of situations.
Eliminate Solitary Confinement
Although it’s unthinkable, it is not unheard of for individuals in American detention facilities to spend months at a time in solitary confinement. This, despite international standards on human rights requirements that this type of isolation be used only for 15 days at a time. It’s past time to ban the use of solitary confinement that exceeds such minimum time frames.
Eliminate the Federal Death Penalty
The list of problems related to the death penalty are well documented. In addition to racial bias and arbitrary outcomes based on geography, the number of death row inmates who are later proven to be innocent—primarily those of color—is forever growing. Federal cessation of death penalty convictions is long overdue, and the Biden-Harris administration should suspend all federal executions until this is achieved.
Fighting for Justice
Despite the hurdles, the fight for justice in America goes on. At Lobo Law, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys are taking the reins in local battles every day. For experienced representation in cases dealing with injustice, contact our office today.