A System of Justice
Justice isn’t about punishment, it’s about safety and healing. It’s time we had a justice system that understands that.
Too many of us feel scared and not safe when a police car passes. Over the past 30 years America has arrested and put more people in jail, even as crime rates have dropped. These arrests target people of color, specifically our black neighbors.
It’s Not a Crime to Be Poor
No one should be jailed for being poor. No one should be forced to “pay” their fines by spending time in jail. For many of us, waiting in jail for our trial to start can mean we lose our jobs, our homes, and our children all while we haven’t even been convicted of a crime. Cash bail should be abolished.
End the War on Drugs
We will legalize marijuana and make sure the people who went to jail for it are freed, have their records scrubbed, and are provided good jobs. Communities suffering from opioid addiction need support, not police to come in and arrest people. Non-violent drug offenders need rehab, not jail.
Drug addiction is a public health issue. The people who can solve the opioid crisis are social workers, clinicians, doctors and recovery specialists. We will invest in programs that truly address the problem, beginning with access to naloxone, clean-needle exchange programs, and not-for-profit recovery programs.
Abolish the Death Penalty
Capital punishment propels a system of violence. We will abolish the federal death penalty and support organizers across the country in their state-wide abolition work. We will end solitary confinement, which is inhumane and something no human should ever have to suffer.
Demilitarize the Police
The police should not be at war with the people. We will end the Department of Defense 1033 program, which allows police departments free access to military grade weapons and technology. Weapons previously received from the department of defense will be returned there.
We will end Department of Homeland Security grants to local police to purchase military weaponry, which acts as billions of dollars of direct subsidy to police and defense contractors. We can spend that money on mental health care, rehabilitation, safe housing, and other projects that make our communities safer.
Remove the Profit Motive
Corporations should not profit from our pain. For-profit prisons give prisoners the worst care possible in order to maximize their profits and cut corners and are not accountable to voters. No one should make money from imprisoning people and that includes pay phone operators, food suppliers, halfway houses and other companies that profit from the prison system. Just outside of our district, the T Don Hutto RC is a for-profit detention center where guards have sexually abused female asylum seekers. For-profit prisons focus on making money, not healing, and we will get rid of them.
Fund Public Defenders
Justice means we are all equal under the law. While some can afford expensive lawyers, most of us have to settle for public defenders, who usually are underpaid and forced to work too many cases. We all deserve a lawyer who can stand up for us.
In office, I will use every tool in my toolbox to fund more public defenders, make sure public defenders are fairly paid and have their student debt wiped out, and force cities and states to hire enough public defenders.
Restore Voting Rights
Police target people of color and charge them with felonies, which causes them to lose their voting rights. This has the effect of taking away the voting rights Black people fought for in the Civil Rights Movement. This is especially true in Texas and the south where Republicans do all they can to discount the votes of people of color. All felons and prisoners must have their voting rights restored. Democracy means that all people have a vote.
End Three Strikes
No one should spend their life in jail for committing small-time crimes. We will end the practice nationwide of automatically giving people life in prison for their third offense. This is a cruel law that targets people of color and it must be abolished.
Support Sex Workers
Laws that are meant to target sex trafficking have been abused to punish sex workers. Criminalizing sex work reduces the freedom of workers and increases their vulnerability to violence, extortion, and health risks. Sex workers are workers. We must decriminalize sex work so that workers in this industry can have fair labor practices and a life without stigma or social exclusion.