Reforming our Criminal Justice System

Our state should has an incredible opportunity to show the world how to prevent crime and how to respond to it positively. Here are just a few of the things I’ll be fighting for as a representative:

Ending the Death Penalty

More than a decade has passed since North Carolina last executed someone — and that’s a very good thing. With the heavy risks of wrongful conviction and the costs of capital punishment reaching into the tens of millions annually, it’s easy to see why public support for the death penalty has dropped to its lowest point in nearly fifty years.

A majority of North Carolinians support replacing the death penalty and using the savings to pay for more impactful efforts such as victim assistance programs and crime prevention. It’s time to codify these insights with laws that reflect the wishes of the people in our state, who have made it clear that we as a society don’t want the emotional or financial burden of killing other people.

Positive Alternatives to Incarceration

The Justice Reinvestment Act has resulted in undeniably positive outcomes, such as reduced recidivism, lower correctional costs, and increased public safety. There is still a huge opportunity to reduce our dependency on mass incarceration by investing in efforts that prioritize rehabilitation and restitution over punishment.

Diversion programs, which provide a positive alternative to arrest for low-level offenses, have seen much success in communities nationwide. Likewise, restorative justice programs help focus on repairing the harm caused by crime and taking direct steps to prevent repeated offenses. It is also necessary to take steps to address many of the underlying socioeconomic causes of crime with efforts aimed at providing affordable housing, healthcare, and other basic necessities to those who need it most.

Closing the School to Prison Pipeline

There are a host of factors contributing to the school-to-prison pipeline, many of which cannot be addressed if school districts do not have adequate funding and resources. With additional funding, local school districts can explore positive alternatives to traditional discipline that take a student’s background and circumstances into consideration and develop interventions aimed at preventing misbehavior to begin with.

Modern Marijuana Laws

The state legislature has had numerous opportunities to bring the laws governing the use of marijuana in North Carolina up to date with what the public wants and deserves. Modernizing these laws will bring relief to so many folks who are currently suffering from chronic health conditions. In addition to loosening restrictions on medical marijuana, we should also revisit the laws criminalizing the possession of marijuana for recreational use. These laws are not only expensive to enforce, but they disproportionately affect people of color, and they can cause life-long negative impacts on a person’s ability to find meaningful employment opportunities, their eligibility for student aid, and even their access to affordable housing.

Are you registered to vote?

Election day is Tuesday, November 6, 2018. You can find more information on registration and voting by visiting the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections.

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