CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM AND DRUG POLICY
Our State’s approach to law enforcement and corrections needs serious reform. The so-called “war on drugs” has failed, and we only need to look to other countries to see that decriminalizing drugs and offering people treatment instead of incarceration is the way to effectively combat this problem. Bail bond reform is also necessary, and the racial and class discrimination that underpins the current system needs to be dismantled. We should turn our attention to the kinds of policies that actually work in both helping people with substance addictions, which should be treated first and foremost as a public health crisis and not a criminal issue, and saving our much needed public law enforcement resources for protecting our communities from the real criminal threats. Marijuana should be legalized, and all people incarcerated for its possession should be released, especially from prisons which privately profit off of their imprisonment.
We also need to begin to re-think and re-direct how we do policing in our society. This includes de-militarizing our police, and shifting some of the public resources we currently spend on policing, which for many municipalities entails upwards towards literally half their annual budgets. We should re-invest some of these resources towards enabling the health and well-being of our communities, so we don’t have to spend that money countering the negative effects of the poverty and civic corrosion that often results from the lack of those needs being met.
FIGHTING COSTLY CORPORATE CRIMES AND CORRUPTION
We should also be directing more of our law enforcement efforts towards stopping the white collar crimes that continue to take place in the political and financial sector, crimes which result in corrupt programs like Ohio’s ECOT scandal (which stole over $1 BILLION dollars in taxpayer money from our schools), or the HB6 FirstEnergy scam, which used legislation to attempt to rip off Ohio utility customers of well over a billion dollars in order to pad the pockets of a handful of corrupt legislators and their corporate patrons. Lack of enforcement of many of these crimes, or even the outright legalization of practices that unjustly cause serious financial harm to Ohioans (such as the payday lending scams that left some of our most financially vulnerable citizens preyed upon by unscrupulous operators), is the result of the corruption which is currently embedded in our state pay-to-play politics.