Let's Decriminalize Poverty
We need to END the school to prison pipeline by ending zero tolerance policies that funnel students into the prison system.
Our criminal justice system has no justice. It is a collapsing mess, with judges swamped with cases for minor crimes or frivolous lawsuits while real criminals are stuck in the backlog. Innocent are swept under and wait months or even years awaiting trial because they cannot afford the outrageously high bail set. This cannot continue. We need to eliminate bail for lower and minor crimes while creating high bail requirements for more serious and higher crimes, to ensure no real criminal is let go onto the streets. I will work with criminal justice advocates, police and correction officers, and communities to develop actual trust and safety in this city. We need to move on from using our overworked and understaffed police as aggressive enforcers and instead have them be trusted members of our community.
When the mayor’s proposal was drafted in 2017 [to close Rikers and spend 11 billion on four community jails], the average daily New York City jail population was about 9,400; the proposal aimed to reduce that to 5,000 by 2026. Currently, the average population is about 7,100, far ahead of the city’s estimates.
The mayor’s office adjusted its goal to an average daily jail population of 3,300 by 2026, based on the projected effects of New York state bail reform and city investments in diversion programs. According to the Mayor’s Office for Criminal Justice, existing city jails outside of Rikers have a combined maximum capacity of 2,300 people; by 2026, this would leave a difference of about 1,000 people on a daily basis who could not be detained in existing non-Rikers jails.
Given these estimates, why is the mayor insisting on building new jails? #CLOSERikers campaign founder Glenn E. Martin tackled this issue in a recent New York Daily News op-ed, asking, “Why not aim for 2,500 beds? Or 1,250?” It’s an excellent question, especially considering that New York City has seen significant declines in both serious crime and incarceration over the past decade.”
- Eliminate Cash Bail
- Decriminalize poverty (fare evasion, loitering). Decriminalize all minor offences (such as e-bikes, disturbing the peace, etc). Decriminalize simple drug possession.
- Legalize Cannabis and have the tax revenue go directly back to the communities most harmed by the war on drugs.
- Social Equity: Ensure small businesses & local entrepreneurs can participate in the Cannabis industry.
- End the school to prison pipeline by ending zero tolerance policies that funnel students into the prison system, removing police from schools, and removing metal detectors from schools.
- Close Rikers and stop the construction of new jails. Fund programs that reduce recidivism.