A more compassionate model for public safety is one that puts rehabilitation over incarceration and works to end the legacy of racism in our system.
The murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor reignited the Black Lives Matter movement. Communities across America are grappling with the persistent racism within our public safety institutions and policies. For decades, law enforcement and the justice system have viewed incarceration as a solution to our societal problems.
Virginia specifically held onto a legal code that was born out of the Jim Crow era and emphasize punishment and criminalization over rehabilitation and restoration. Instead of treating crime as the result of systemic failures, our laws create never-ending cycles of incarceration. This moment of mass protests in the name of Black lives is showing that together we can create a better way to ensure public safety with justice, transparency, and accountability.
My agenda for reimagining public safety and criminal justice includes:
- Legalizing cannabis, expunging past convictions, freeing those incarceration for only cannabis related crimes, and investing new state revenues into our education system.
- Creating a true parole system for Virginia.
- Ending cash bail and reforming pre-trial detention to end the jailing of Virginians who are presumed innocent under the law but cannot afford to buy their freedom.
- Investing in mental health, housing, and education rather than jails, prisons, and police.
- Ending Qualified Immunity for police officers so Virginia’s law enforcement can be held accountable for misconduct.
- Removing armed Student Resource Officers from our schools and tackling the school to prison pipeline.
- Abolishing the death penalty once and for all.
- Ending the disenfranchisement of incarcerated Virginians and allowing them to vote in their home districts.