America has the largest prison population on the face of the planet: approximately 2.2 million people, locked behind bars, including many who are there for nonviolent drug crimes. People of color disproportionately suffer the consequences of our criminal justice system—because it’s built on the same structural racism that pervades so much of our society, from a maternal mortality crisis three times as deadly for black women to a school system where a child of color is far more likely to be punished in school to an economy where there is ten times more wealth in white America than in black America.
Beto published a book condemning the War on Drugs nearly a decade ago—and as president, he will continue his fight to reform our criminal justice system. His plan will end the prohibition of marijuana and expunge the arrest records of those incarcerated for possessing it; end cash bail; end mandatory minimums; eliminate private and for-profit prisons; ensure police are accountable for civil rights violations; provide more funding for public defenders; and ensure the formerly incarcerated have a path to re-enter our communities.
Beto believes we must reform our criminal justice system to end discrimination—and provide justice for all. As president, he will:
- End the federal prohibition of marijuana, and expunge the records of those who were arrested for possessing it
- End the cash bail system, reducing pre-trial detention and increasing funding for public defenders, thereby increasing equal access to justice.
- Stop the use of mandatory minimums for non-violent offenses
- Eliminate private and for-profit prisons
- Restorative justice programs that assist with successfully transitioning formerly incarcerated individuals back into communities
- Ensure those who are incarcerated receive health care in prison, so that they are able to leave and live a full life, and treat addiction like the public health concern it is
- Ban the box so that a conviction does not stand in the way of a successful transition out of incarceration
- Make federal scholarships like Pell Grants available to incarcerated individuals
- Ensure police accountability through federal civil rights enforcement, supporting community policing
- Restore the right to vote for those who have served their terms and invest in restorative justice programs that assist with successfully transitioning formerly incarcerated individuals back into communities