Justice requires that we work toward building a connected and caring society. Long before a person commits a crime, they likely struggle with unmet needs, addiction, or trauma. I support community initiatives and legislative support for programs that empower people to find stability before they get to the point of committing a crime.
When a person does commit a crime, it is in society’s best interest to invest in interventions that will help heal the person and decrease their likelihood of choosing crime again. Interventions based on punishment and deterrence do not work.
Therapeutic approaches based on counseling, skill building and multiple services do.
All people need meaningful social and economic opportunities in order to thrive; fostering an environment in which these opportunities are present for everyone is a far better investment in public health and safety than locking people up in cells. Mass incarceration actually increases the odds of violence in urban communities. As currently practiced, it is astonishingly expensive and fundamentally ineffective.
A Good administration will pursue promising and humane avenues to improve our criminal justice system, including:
Restorative Approaches to Justice
Restorative Justice is about transformation of perspectives, structures and persons; it involves victims, the community, and offenders in the process of repairing damage. It teaches offenders empathy and justice so they may become more aware of emotions related to suffering, and ultimately accept responsibility for their actions. Restorative Justice programs allow offenders to recognize the impact their actions have on victims and the community. The skills acquired through the process help prepare offenders to re-enter society.
Where Restorative Justice has been widely used, it has reduced violence and crime. Restorative practices are also extremely cost-effective, saving money through the process itself and by preventing future crimes. Psychologists, criminologists, and informed legislators around the world are advocating for the implementation of Restorative Justice programs as part of a widespread effort to curb violence and help heal one another in its harmful wake.
High-Quality Ethical Medical Services
Monroe County is currently using Correctional Medical Care, Inc, New York’s largest private contract provider of jail medical services. This corporation is under investigation by the Attorney General’s office for providing grossly negligent care to inmates. The state’s Commission of Correction found the company at fault in several recent deaths and recommended that Monroe County immediately seek to terminate its contract with CMC.
CMC is just the latest in a string of private corporations contracted to care for people behind bars that has been found to deliver deficient services which, in some cases, have lead to truly appalling scenarios and deaths. Monroe County should transfer medical services to its own Department of Health and provide adequate staffing for the medical needs of its jailed population.
Unlike a private corporation, the County has a vested interest in offering proper health services to inmates—most of who will sooner or later end up back in the mix of society, where they will be a greater asset if they are in good health. Mental health services, an invaluable part of the health care package, are very much overlooked in the current administration. A survey conducted by the Judicial Process Commission found that only one out of three former inmates with a mental health condition received mental health counseling during their incarceration. A whopping seventy percent of youth in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosis of mental illness. Making counseling, including cognitive behavioral therapy, more accessible to all individuals, including inmates and ex-offenders, is certain to improve the quality of life in our communities.
*Make videotaping interrogations and confessions mandatory
*Equip all patrol vehicles with dashboard cameras
*Refuse financial incentives for making drug-related arrests
*Replace the D.A.R.E. program with Restorative Justice programs teaching conflict resolution and violence prevention
*Work to end racial profiling by tracking and reporting race and ethnicity data for all patrol interactions
*Advocate for increased pretrial services and public defender funds
*Halt co-operation with I.C.E. immigration detainers