In response to plans by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to address justice reform as a part of their respective 2020 presidential campaign platforms, a coalition of diverse organizations led by Black and brown organizers, researchers and justice activists who represent people impacted by incarceration and working towards a new vision of community safety, released the following statement:
“For Black and brown communities, justice reform is about transforming a current system that is corrupt and rotten to its core. It’s also about redefining public safety in a way that prioritizes investments in community-led solutions that center dignity and respect for everyone.
“Our coalition believes that justice system reform must include proactive solutions that acknowledge and seek to repair harms for every person who has been impacted by existing and historical policies, and shifts the $200 billion our country spends annually on policing and prisons to real community resources.
“The release of strong justice reform plans from presidential campaigns represents a big moment for grassroots organizations and social movements. It follows the lead of Black and brown communities and organizations who have long been fighting for an end to criminalization and incarceration, as well as a shift in how we define and resource public safety.
“It’s clear that presidential candidates are listening to our organizations and including many of our policy demands around decarceration and dismantling the harm caused by the ’94 Crime Bill. However, the only justice plans that can move forward will require the sustained leadership of impacted communities, grassroots organizations, and Black and brown-led social movements.
“We will continue pushing both Democrats and Republicans to engage communities through a people’s process that recognizes directly impacted people as the policy experts on justice transformation who can speak from experience about the devastation of criminalization and incarceration and offer community-oriented solutions that reduce har
“We will also continue to fight for policies that create a new meaning of safety and justice informed by communities, and recognizes the full humanity and dignity of all people, including non-carceral responses to gender and gun violence, ending life without parole, decriminalizing sex work, and decriminalizing migration.”