I’m talking about Bernie Sanders still, continuing on with my series on the guy. Today, we’re continuing on with his Racial Justice plan, but specifically, we’re going through his Legal Violence Section today. There are no concrete, specifically laid out points, so I’ll be going through the paragraphs he has, and discussing what I find he wants to do.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
War on Drugs:
We need to turn back from the failed “War on Drugs” and eliminate mandatory minimums which result in sentencing disparities between black and white people.
We need to invest in drug courts and medical and mental health interventions for people with substance abuse problems, so that they do not end up in prison, they end up in treatment.
I agree with Bernie on this. The Drug War is a failed venture. We have only seen the loss of liberties and freedoms in exchange with a more militarized police force. However, I believe our approaches would be different. I want the government to not be involved in regulating the markets, and this extends to drugs too. Bernie does not believe in this, but at least does not want to put people in prison for it. It’s a start, but knowing him, his outcome won’t be that great as many would hope for.
People will always find a way to do drugs. Prohibitions do NOT work, and that’s why I don’t support them. The prohibition of alcohol didn’t work. The prohibition of drugs didn’t work. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we get to actually trying to solve a problem.
We need to ban prisons for profit, which result in an over-incentive to arrest, jail and detain, in order to keep prison beds full.
Do I have a stance on this? Not really. Private Prisons aren’t something I’ve thought much of. There are two sides of this argument, and for more on the pro-PP side, see this (Link). That’s all I have on this one.
Civil Asset Forfeiture
We must abolish civil asset forfeiture programs which allow police departments to seize property from people who have not been convicted of a crime and profit off of such seizures.
Here’s what he has in the whole section before he defined his issues:
In many cities all over our country, the incentives for policing are upside down. Departments are bringing in substantial sums of revenue by seizing the personal property of people who are suspected of criminal involvement. So-called civil asset forfeiture laws allow police to take property from people even before they are charged with a crime, much less convicted of one. Even worse, the system works in a way that make it nearly impossible for an innocent person to get her property back. We must end programs that not only permit, but actually reward officials for seizing assets without a criminal conviction or other lawful mandate. Departments and officers should not profit off of such seizures.
I am highly against Civil Asset Forfeiture. It’s a very odd, and honestly stupid process. This is why I like how Suzanna Martinez (NM – Gov) and the New Mexico Legislature decided to ban the practice all together. It’s also an issue where Sen. Rand Paul has also been ahead of Bernie, with his bill the FAIR Act.
Now, when it comes to Bernie, I’m not too sure I can believe him here. His support for Loretta Lynch, the now Attorney General of the United States, is a big fan of civil asset forfeiture, and these two should be in conflict with each other, if he feels as he states in his paragraph above. I would see this as a definite deal breaker.
For more on Lynch’s support of CAF, see this exchange between Utah Senator Mike Lee:
Reinvesting In Young People/Felons
We need to boost investments for programs that help people who have gone to jail rebuild their lives with education and job training.
I want to say this will help, but then I’d be in conflict with a previously stated point in the Income & Wealth Inequality section. However, I do believe that Private Prisons actually do have some programs in place to try and do rehabilitation to normal life.