For the last 50 years we've seen the effects of marijuana prohibition in this country. It has helped to foster countless gangs, deaths, and ruined lives and entire generations due to felony convictions for what is often a minor offense. I may not personally agree with the use of this drug, but it's obvious that the facts are this: Marijuana is safer than alcohol and there is no reason to keep it illegal.
More than any profit to the government in the form of taxation, I support full marijuana legalization if for no other reason than to free up legal resources so we can tackle gangs, put in more money towards fighting the opioid epidemic, and stop the systematic racism that has resulted from these marijuana laws
Expunging Records for non-violent crimes
Hand-in-hand with full legalization or marijuana I would sign onto any bill that seeks to expunge the record for any non-violent drug offender who was caught with marijuana, so long as they were not part of any criminal enterprise. Additionally, I would sign onto any bill that would seek the immediate release for these non-violent offenders from jail once legalization was done.
Reducing Government Waste through Jail Reform
The biggest waste we have right now in our criminal justice system is the bevy of people in jail for minor offenses for long periods of time. While I belive bail reform should be left to the states and localities, I would impose a federal law stating that anyone in jail who is unable to afford bail that is convicted for certain non-violent offenses with no previous record should be held no longer than for 10 days. A federal standard is necessary to ensure people do not confess to crimes simply to get out of jail and to prevent the horror stories we have heard of people being held for up to 30 days or longer. This will greatly reduce costs for housing prisoners.
The private prison industry has created a profit motivation to imprisoning people. In a just system this makes no sense. I will make it a goal to ensure no federal funds are used to put people into private prisons and I will seek to ban the practice altogether.
Ending Prolonged Solitary Confinement
It has been shown time and time again that prolonged solitary confinement is not only destroying the mental state of people but that it also cruel and inhumane. I will sign onto, and sponsor legislation, seeking to end this practice in this country so that no one spends longer than a month in this state.
If I was given the chance to change just one thing about the U.S. Prison System, it would be this: To make it an actual place of reform and corrections.
Our current model doesn't make sense. We put people in tiny rooms, even putting them into solitary confinement, and we give them no real tools or chances to improve themselves or make it easy for them to reintegrate into society. With the largest prison population in the world, we must take actions to help make sure we don't isolate people and instead help them become functioning members of society.
If elected, I will push to focus on helping people on long prison sentences to easily reintegrate into society however we can.