Reforming Criminal Justice
Our criminal justice system should protect the public from criminals while upholding due process, civil rights, and equal protection under the law.
Yet in America's criminal justice system today wealth—not culpability—shapes outcomes. Many people charged with crimes lack the monetary resources to hire a good lawyer, pay court fees, or post bail, often leading to wrongful convictions and excessive sentences.
Deep race and class disparities persist in policing, prosecution, and sentencing, at every level from misdemeanor arrests to executions. The “tough on crime” policies that led to mass incarceration are rooted in the belief that Black and Brown people are inherently guilty and dangerous. As we have seen highlighted throughout recorded encounters in 2020, that belief still exists through racial profiling, arbitrary detention, and physical brutality against people of color.
Instead of social workers and medical personnel, police are sent to address the symptoms of addiction, homelessness, mental illness, and poverty. Rather than giving people the help they need and addressing the root of the issues they face, we charge them and use prisons to contain them. This often makes existing issues worse; people leave jails and prisons more traumatized, mentally ill, and physically battered than when they entered.
As a result of this approach, we incarcerate more citizens than any other country, disproportionately impacting the poor and people of color. The US holds less than 5% of the world's population, yet almost 25% of its incarcerated population. This costs our GDP roughly $87 billion annually.
All these issues emphasize a strong need for reform in our criminal justice system. Our system should aim for the successful re-entry of all non-violent criminals back into society after their sentences have been filled. We should prioritize education and rehabilitation during prison sentences so that inmates have a chance at a healthy life upon their departure. If we don’t give people a fighting chance to reintegrate into society, then we should expect they will have no alternative other than returning to crime – an outcome that doesn't benefit anyone except prison owners.
Ensure that formerly incarcerated individuals have equitable job opportunities upon release
Protect the full restoration of rights for formerly incarcerated individuals, including the right to vote
End the War on Drugs by legalizing marijuana and expunging past marijuana convictions
Advance criminal justice reform through the elimination of cash bail, along with increased diversion and reentry programs
Establish federal guidelines for the rehabilitation for criminals, such as academic education, career technical education, cognitive behavioral therapy, employment preparation, and substance use disorder treatment.
Work to increase and reallocate state/local funds to the proper resources that can address issues of homelessness, addiction, and mental illness
As Your Congresswoman Savanna will:
About Savanna's Platform
"I am fighting for every American to have access to affordable, quality health care; to advance criminal justice reform; to demand equality for LGBTQ+ and Black communities; to support our aging population; to lower taxes for working families and small businesses; to raise taxes on the ultra-rich and large corporations; to accelerate pathways to citizenship for immigrants; to address our climate crisis; to bring new jobs and industries to the economy; to make affordable housing a right; to provide higher education to all; to give the public a louder voice than special interests."