CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM:

 
 Photo by kickstand/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by kickstand/iStock / Getty Images

Alternatives to Prison -

Substance Abuse: Provide treatment facilities and personnel to help People break their dependency cycle and give them a constructive outlet path to follow.  Provide job support opportunities to allow people to make an easier transition back into society and support efforts that aim to develop more independence in the lives of former users.  Provide psychological support systems to help former users break old habits, develop healthier modes of behavior, learn how to be more self-reliant, and become more connected to their Community.

Private Prisons:  The system of private prisons in this Country should be Abolished.  Crime, Justice, and Punishment are too important to relinquish responsibility over to a for-profit Corporation, whose primary goal will be to keep prisons at full capacity.   If private prisons are to remain, any prisoner should have the right to sue the company for any and all abuses suffered, the company should have no special legal protections.  There are just too many cases of Corporate misconduct in the past to trust any of them with the lives of our Citizens, even those who have been convicted.

Sentencing: Allow judges more discretion regarding sentencing to more closely fit Justice with the crimes committed and risks perceived.  Reduce (drug distribution) or eliminate (drug use) sentences for non-violent drug offenses.   Route mentally ill (screening) to treatment facilities capable of handling such individuals.

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Incarceration - 

With Evidence showing significant disparities in prison sentences between People of the minority vs. majority, it is clear that fairness and justice needs to be reasserted into judicial sentencing and processing.  This is required not only in terms of parity between races or classes, but in term of fairness of prison-sentence durations (for all), jail-holding durations, bail thresholds, crime legislation, private prisons, and Substance Abuse issues.

In order to correct these disturbing trends, we must look at each of the various issues and tackle them both directly (private prisons, minimum sentencing guidelines, crime legislation) and comprehensively (substance abuse, economic and educational opportunity).

Ultimately, our goals should bend towards reintegration of People back into our society via behavioral therapy, education, work opportunities, and other positive self-development initiatives and incentives. 

It will be less costly in the long run to provide such supportive measures, rather than allow untreated recidivism to perpetuate past cycles of behavior and continually go unchecked.  We may never completely solve this "Human problem", but it is our best long term strategic approach as a Community.

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Alternatives to Prosecution -

Drug Legislation: Decriminalize drug use and minor distribution offenses.  Pair users with treatment facilities (above).  Pair minor distributors with fines or Community service hours.  Consider drug decriminalization and regulation legislation paired with Community outreach facilities (see Substance Abuse).

Public Prosecutors: The competitive nature of the position can lead to overactive behavior and a focus solely on preserving a high prosecution rate.  Why not create more balance?  Have public prosecutors and defenders changes sides from case to case.  Or give credits to attorneys who retract convictions or advocate case dismissals in light of innocence-proving evidence.

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Incarceration Trends

 

Problem: racial & class disparities

LearnLiberty.org

problem: systemic causes & costs

 

Alternatives & Bypasses

 

Option: Alternatives to Imprisonment

Option: public intervention programing