A coalition of much more 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 portion of the document’s plank on ending the war on drugs, the organizations stated states ought to “legalize marijuana by means of a racial justice framework that focuses on access, equity, and repairing the harm of prohibition” and the federal government ought to finish cannabis prohibition and “implement marijuana reform by means 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 typical.
But since passing such a bill will take time, the coalition stated the Justice Division ought to instantly reinstate Obama-era guidance that directed federal prosecutors to usually keep out of the way of state cannabis law implementation.
The platform, named “Vision for Justice 2020 and Beyond,” also encourages decriminalizing possession of all drugs as effectively as particular trafficking offenses that “over the final 40 years have triggered an explosion in our incarcerated population.”
But the groups stated even straightforward decriminalization is not sufficient and argued that officials ought to “work toward dismantling the present paradigm of drug criminalization and replacing the present method with a regulatory strategy that treats substance use as a public overall health concern.”
That would be accomplished by means of “investments in healthcare care, mental overall health care, neighborhood empowerment, and other proof-primarily based wellness practices that cut down overdose deaths, such as syringe and naloxone applications, drug checking, protected consumption spaces, and medication-assisted remedy.”
“The failed War on Drugs has devastated thousands of communities, specifically these of colour, though overwhelming our jails and prisons. We ought to instantly finish these failed policies and proactively invest in these communities that have been harmed most.”
The groups also stated that the Drug Enforcement Administration ought to be overhauled and all federal agencies dealing with drugs ought to take a public overall health strategy to the concern that focuses on harm reduction and remedy.
Income saved by implementing these reform proposals ought to be employed “to rebuild these communities that have been most broken by the War on Drugs, such as by supplying sources to address addiction and other behavioral overall health troubles,” the platform states.
In addition to these drug-certain 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 ought to also be ended, says the platform, which was shared with presidential candidates.
“The U.S. incarcerates much more people today than any other created nation, with much more than six.six million people today below 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 merely can not reside up to the values we profess if we do not finish mass incarceration and remove the deep racial bias entrenched in the present method.”
BREAKING: With @CivRightsCorps & 115 other orgs, we released a platform for the 2020 state & federal elections proposing a vision for transforming our criminal-legal method into 1 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 give this extensive roadmap to generate 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 eliminate the stain that has lingered on our democracy as a outcome of an excessively punitive method. The options we give are actionable tools we can use to start that course of action.”
The groups also expressed concern about criminal laws targeting poverty, mental overall health, disability and homelessness.
“All reforms ought to create decarceral benefits and perform to finish racial and financial inequity,” they stated. “All reforms, as they shrink the criminal-legal method, ought to invest sources in these communities that have been most harmed by mass incarceration and mass criminalization.”
Voting rights ought to be restored for these at the moment and formerly incarcerated, restrictions on points like public housing and employment ought to be eliminated and misdemeanor convictions ought to be automatically sealed and expunged, they stated. The platform also states that particular felony convictions ought to be expunged more than time.
“Throughout the history of this nation, the American method of criminal punishment has been employed to perpetuate white supremacy, market inequality, and handle marginalized people today,” Alec Karakatsanis, founder of Civil Rights Corps, a different signee, stated. “Vision for Justice lays out actionable policy options to start dismantling these dangerous systems and start meaningful reinvestment in the communities that have been devastated by the method as it stands.”
Other signatories incorporate civil rights groups Colour Of Modify, Drug Policy Alliance, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Innocence Project, Lambda Legal, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Below Law, MomsRising, National Action Network, National Association of Social Workers, Folks For the American Way, The Legal Help Society and The Southern Poverty Law Center.
“The remedy of communities of colour in the criminal-legal method is the most profound civil rights crisis facing America in the 21st century,” they wrote. “This platform seeks to eliminate this moral stain on our democracy by providing certain, measurable actions to start to transform the method.”
New Work Aims To Erase A Quarter Of A Million Marijuana Convictions From Records
Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.