One important issue that is far too often neglected by political candidates from Democrat and Republican parties is incarceration rates. In North Carolina alone over $1,000,000,000 is spent annually on just housing, feeding, and keeping its prison population. I think we should focus on reducing the incarceration rates, first in North Carolina and then throughout the rest of United States.
Through my work, I have seen the good citizens and workers that so many ex-offenders have become. What most people in trouble need is help, treatment, and aid; not incarceration.
In order to reduce the number of incarcerated Americans and boost the economy with a greater workforce, we must:
- Removing Mandatory Sentencing Guidelines. Sentencing should be based upon proportionality of the crime as well as utilizing the sentence to promote social justice in the individual and community.
- Creating Transition Programs. Such as job skills training programs in conjunction with state and federal departments.
- Expand Drug Treatment Programs. This is important because we need to realize that incarceration is not a treatment for addiction.
- Reclassify Marijuana. In 23 states doctors can prescribe medical marijuana to patients,but cannot legally study how it would affect their illnesses. We need to authorize the CDC to study medical marijuana and potential for decriminalizing marijuana completely.
- Change Employment Screening Guidelines. It is necessary to change background checks for employment and potential discrimination and liability. Work to join over a dozen other states who have approved “ban the box” policies that forbid employers from asking applicants about criminal backgrounds
There is no excuse for why the United States has 5% of the world’s population but 22% of the world’s prison population. That is unacceptable. It is about time that America and her government begins to aid all of the citizens of this great nation, which includes helping those stuck in the vicious incarceration cycle of bad policies and procedures.
Through the steps outlined above we get begin to get back to more civilized and understandable incarceration rates, and rid ourselves of the gross injustice and failed policies that are in place now.