SMART CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
With the country's highest incarceration rates for black males, we need urgent reform. In Wisconsin, 13% of black males are incarcerated. It's shameful. Many are imprisoned for non-violent offenses. The "tough on crime" rhetoric is simply a rhetoric.What does it even mean? No one disagrees that lengthy incarceration is merited for violent and heinous crimes. Let's use our resources wisely. Let's not spend $30,000 per year to lock someone up for stealing $10 worth of grocery. It's a ludicrous waste of taxpayers money.
Sending people to jail for marijuana possession is morally and economically reprehensible. The cost of incarceration is about $30,000 per year. By that math, even a short jail sentence of 30 days will cost taxpayers around $2,500 for $5 worth of weed. You do the math. It's an embarrassment.
Where marijuana is legal: Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington & the District of Columbia, Delaware (decriminalized).
Where medicinal marijuana is legal: Hawaii, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island.
In a 2013 GALLOP poll, 58% of Americans favored the legalization of marijuana nationwide. As of December 8, 2014, 46% of the U.S. population lived in states where marijuana was available in from a commercial dispensary for either recreational and/or medicinal purpose. States that decriminalized/legalized marijuana saw a decrease in crime.
In Wisconsin, we are still sending people to jail for this. It's time for a change. We need to stop ruining lives and families for marijuana possessions. Let's get smart. Like alcohol, we should legalize marijuana. Let's use the tax surplus to fund community projects and education.
INCREASE OPPORTUNITY FOR EXPUNCTION FOR THE REFORMED
Some offenses are symptoms of poverty and lack of opportunity. Some offenses are products of youthful indiscretion. Some are products of impulse, or even pure stupidity. If a person who has proven himself or herself to society that he or she is reformed, we should give that person the opportunity to ask the court to expunge his or her record. Meaning, if that person has shown that he or she is a productive member of society and is no longer a threat to the community, his or her public criminal conviction should be wiped off. Because:
- People are capable of change. Positive change that benefits society should be rewarded.
- The chance for expunction creates an incentive for past offenders to live a law-abiding lifestyle.
- A conviction is a permanent life-long "brand." This branding creates a sub-class of citizens...ones that cannot compete in the labor force for jobs.
- The process will be heavily monitored, and the vetting process will be extensive.
- Expunged conviction data are still available to law enforcement, prosecutors, and courts. That way, no one will be able to continuously take advantage of this program.
- This does not apply to sex offender registrants.
AMP UP ENFORCEMENT TO FIGHT AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Human trafficking is modern day slavery. It is a crime against humanity. We need to increase awareness and amp up active enforcement. We need to create incentives for anonymous tips. Often times, victims of human trafficking have no where to turn because law enforcement is also prosecuting the victims for prostitution, drug possession, etc. We need to break the chains between the and victims and their traffickers or pimps. We need to build trust with the victims by showing non-judgmental help is available, and that law enforcement is on their side.