Criminal Justice Reforms – Tom Prigg for Congress

I support reinvesting in less costly rehabilitation and treatments for drug abuse and mental illness. The for-profit prison system values profit over people, and this must stop.

  • The US imprisons 4X more people than any other country in the world 1…even though violent crime rates have been decreasing for 20 years.2 Why is that?
  • Persistent racial inequality is one underlying cause.
    • African-American students are more harshly punished than their white peers: they are 3X more likely to be suspended out-of-school than white students 3, which feeds into the school-to-prison pipeline.4
    • Stop-and-frisk policies disproportionately target Black and Hispanic men 5, which has led to unequal incarceration. For example, Black Americans comprise 40% of prisoners despite being only 13% of the population.6
  • Prisons were estimated to cost taxpayers $39 billion in fiscal year 2010; this equates to $31,286 / inmate / year.7
  • Many private prisons have negotiated “lockup quotas”, which requires law enforcement to arrest enough people or WE pay the difference.8
    • This guarantees prisons profit from our hard-earned tax money no matter what. Provisions must be established to discourage and eliminate the for-profit prison system.
  • Mandatory minimum sentences continue the cycle of poverty. In 2015, 13.8% of all arrests were drug-related, non-violent offenses. We have over half a million people in prison for marijuana possession.9 After release, many are ineligible for federal loans for education without attending costly rehab programs, and it takes many years to restore voter rights.
  • An estimated 15-20% of inmates in jails and state prisons have a serious mental illness, or ~356,000 inmates.10 This is 10 times more than the ~35,000 individuals with serious mental illness remaining in state hospitals.
  • As your Congressman, I will support legislation to increase funding and invest in rehabilitation and treatment programs for prisoners, and am in favor of substance abuse treatment, in lieu of prison, for first time, nonviolent offenders. I also pledge to work hard towards ultimately reducing our reliance on the for-profit private prison syste
  1. http://www.prisonstudies.org/highest-to-lowest/prison-population-total?field_region_taxonomy_tid=All
  2. http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/dueling-claims-on-crime-trend/
  3. http://wtgrantfoundation.org/disparities-in-school-discipline-the-complex-face-of-inequality-in-education
  4. http://www.justicepolicy.org/news/8775
  5. http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~gelman/research/published/frisk9.pdf
  6. https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/rates.html
  7. https://www.vera.org/publications/the-price-of-prisons-what-incarceration-costs-taxpayers
  8. https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2015/jul/31/report-finds-two-thirds-private-prison-contracts-include-lockup-quotas/
  9. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in-the-u.s.-2015/tables/table-29
  10. https://tinyurl.com/hdepe7l
  1. http://www.prisonstudies.org/highest-to-lowest/prison-population-total?field_region_taxonomy_tid=All
  2. http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/dueling-claims-on-crime-trend/
  3. http://wtgrantfoundation.org/disparities-in-school-discipline-the-complex-face-of-inequality-in-education
  4. http://www.justicepolicy.org/news/8775
  5. http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~gelman/research/published/frisk9.pdf
  6. https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/rates.html
  7. https://www.vera.org/publications/the-price-of-prisons-what-incarceration-costs-taxpayers
  8. https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2015/jul/31/report-finds-two-thirds-private-prison-contracts-include-lockup-quotas/
  9. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in-the-u.s.-2015/tables/table-29
  10. https://tinyurl.com/hdepe7l
  11. http://www.prisonstudies.org/highest-to-lowest/prison-population-total?field_region_taxonomy_tid=All
  12. http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/dueling-claims-on-crime-trend/
  13. http://wtgrantfoundation.org/disparities-in-school-discipline-the-complex-face-of-inequality-in-education
  14. http://www.justicepolicy.org/news/8775
  15. http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~gelman/research/published/frisk9.pdf
  16. https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/rates.html
  17. https://www.vera.org/publications/the-price-of-prisons-what-incarceration-costs-taxpayers
  18. https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2015/jul/31/report-finds-two-thirds-private-prison-contracts-include-lockup-quotas/
  19. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in-the-u.s.-2015/tables/table-29
  20. https://tinyurl.com/hdepe7l