Our justice system is broken, plain and simple. Currently, the U.S justice system punishes the poor, exacerbates mental illness and does little to prevent crime. We need an overhaul of our justice system, to make the United States truly the land of the free.

The United States has more people in prison than any other country on the planet. The U.S has less than 5% of the world’s population, but around 25% of the world’s prison population. 1 in 28 children live with a parent in prison. Most inmates have a mental illness. The U.S spends more than 133 other nations on it’s prisons. Almost half of our inmates have been convicted of non-violent drug charges. These statistics are troubling and unacceptable. We must end the war on drugs, and reform our broken justice system to promote mental health, safety and dignity for all Americans.

We must end the war on drugs and shift the nation’s drug treatment model from punishment to sobriety through mental health interventions, including offering early substance abuse treatment such as affordable access to therapy, housing, jobs training and inpatient rehabilitation.

I support helping nations that have been linked to exporting illicit drugs into the United States, to develop their infrastructure, living standards and human rights to disempower the drug trade.  

I support expanding alternatives to jail programs such as drug and mental health courts, alternative housing and skills training programs.

I support expanding community review boards across the country, to make police departments more transparent and hold officers accountable for police brutality.

In my years working in mental health, the group which I feel most compelled to help has become young people with behavioral issues. Most of the time that minors end up in the juvenile corrections system it is a result of trauma and socio-economic struggles. We must, shift the nation’s juvenile corrections programs to be treatment focused, using evidence based mental health approaches to rehabilitate incarcerated youth. 

I support therapeutic foster care as an alternative to detention.

I support a multi-faceted therapeutic approach for minors in the corrections system. Utilizing research based methods to teach conflict resolution, mood management and social skills.

I support jobs and skills training programs for at-risk youth.

In the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “The death penalty goes against the better judgement of modern criminology, above all against the highest expression of love in the nature of God.” The death penalty is archaic, costly and ineffective. I support an immediate and absolute ban of the death penalty.

The exploitation of prison labor takes jobs away from non-incarcerated individuals and is legalized slavery. No one should be coerced into working by means of threat, every worker should be paid appropriately. These are universal values. I support changing the 13th amendment of the constitution to ban all forms of slave labor including the labor of incarcerated individuals.

I support banning private prisons and detention facilities.

The prison at Guantanamo Bay will be remembered as a tragic and dark page in U.S history. From the case of the Uyghurs who were released a decade after being found innocent, to water boarding, to sleep deprivation and stress positions. We must close Guantanamo Bay once and or all. To further ensure that this dark chapter is never repeated, we must give constitutional rights to all people in U.S custody regardless of citizenship status or country of origin.

The United States values freedom  over all things, we must work together for a justice system that reflects our values.