We imprison more of our own people than any other country on Earth. Our system of imprisonment is biased against Latinos and African Americans and criminalizes the poor. We must be more effective at rehabilitation and at improving safety in our communities at a far lower cost. All of this must be done while improving the opportunities for young people to achieve their full potential.

To do so we must do the following:

  • End the practice of private and for-profit prisons and detention centers that cost more, have the perverse incentive to send more people to jail, and have demonstrably higher levels of violence. According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, prisons owned by for-profit companies hold nearly three-quarters of federal immigration detainees.
  • End the government’s war on drugs and encourage comprehensive reforms in drug control policies that have had a devastating effect on communities of color.
  • Find ways for nonviolent offenders to be held accountable for their crimes outside of the prison system and support programs that help rehabilitate them.
  • Improve access to mental health services within our prison systems to help diagnose and address people with existing mental health issues and drive down rates of backsliding.
  • End the current system of bail bonds that punishes people for being poor. The current system allows bail for those who can afford it, instead of ensuring that a person’s release won’t result in harm to someone else. Reforming the bail system will refocus public dollars on community well-being and ensure that we no longer waste vast resources on imprisoning those who are not violent offenders.