Justice reform is more than just creating a fairer system. It's about family. It's about justice. In the wake of George Floyd's death and countless other deaths through police brutality we need reform.
The most important thing we can do is to understand that a lot of these issues are very intertwined with inequality, institutional racism, and pro-crime bias, resulting in a system that is set for racial profiling and pro-prosecution. But it doesn't have to be this way. Historically the role of the U.S. police has always been defined by economics and politics evolving to emphasize efficiency and crime-fighting. The social work aspect of policing in the USA became discouraged.
We can change this. No one wants to live in a police state. For example, in Scotland (U.K.), calming a situation through talk and psychology is the primary tool and 98% of their officers don't carry guns. There's a popular push to achieve such a "social model" through community policing, but that cannot be achieved in America with our police and its paramilitary culture. Historically, community policing is used as a means to rebuild the legitimacy of a discredited police force. Once that is accomplished, it can be easily transformed into arrest-based, iron-fisted policing. That's what happened in New York.
1. Create disincentives for the police to use "excessive force" by changing the mens rea standard for Federal Prosecution of excessive force. Special and independent prosecutors should be taking the lead in such prosecutions.
2. Restrict and place conditions on Federal Funding to enact human-centered local police reform and training.
We incarcerate more people than any other nation in the world, in both absolute numbers and per capita (according to reported statistics). We have the world’s largest prison population – with 25% of its prisoners, but just 5% of the world's total population. They happen to be disproportionately African-American.
First, we must reduce sentences for non-violent drug crimes and legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana on the national level. By looking at history, it was big interests that made marijuana illegal and the political rhetoric used was racist associating marijuana use with immigrants and minorities.
We must also end all mandatory minimums and reinstate the federal system of parole. There is no reason why after an arrest — wrongful or not — a person’s ability to leave jail and return home to fight the charges depends on money. A poor person will not be able to leave local jails. We must end cash bail. We must end the Bail Bond Industry that has become a billion dollar industry!
All private prisons and detention centers should be eliminated. Prisoners at private prisons can make 4 cents an hour. At state-run prisons they can make over a dollar. The conditions at private prisons rate far worse than public prisons and there are significant safety concerns.
I am a proponent of re-enfranchising the right to vote those who have had their vote taken away by a felony conviction. After paying their debt to society, by serving time, rights should be restored to that individual.
We must also abolish the death penalty.
We must seriously reform civil asset forfeitures.
We must start to rethink on how we treat "human caging." To further address systemic racism and transform our system, we must also be addressing inequality as a top issue alongside comprehensive justice reform.