WelcomeTo My World

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Harry Belafonte: It's Time for Smart and Fair Justice


We can solve mass incarceration. We are not stuck with a criminal justice system that is unproductive and wasteful.

In this video, entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte discusses why he is working with the ACLU to move beyond mass incarceration and create a criminal justice system that is actually smart and fair.

Our criminal justice system is not working well. Instead, we have a system that routinely throws away certain people's lives -- particularly the lives of Black and brown men, women, and children. For the last four decades, this country has relentlessly expanded the reach of our criminal justice system and the length of time we keep people locked up, pushing our jail and prison to over 2.3 million people and costing taxpayers billions. This expensive and unfair system makes communities less safe by removing large numbers of people from the workforce and from their families, warehousing people in overstuffed jails and prisons, and saddling millions of Americans with employment-killing criminal records for life.

Here's the bottom line (it might seem counter-intuitive, but studies show it's true): prison doesn't deter crime. In a lot of cases, it creates more problems than it solves, leaving communities and taxpayers holding the bag.

But solutions exist, and the ACLU's Fair Justice Smart Justice Campaign (https://www.aclu.org/smartandfair) is already working to implement them. The bad policies and practices that led to this alarming growth did not simply appear out of nowhere. Lawmakers created these laws and police departments choose how to enforce them. Bad policies are made, and bad policies can be changed.

We do not have the luxury of waiting decades to undo the failed policies that have caused so much damage. Through legislative advocacy, litigation, communications and other strategies, the ACLU's Smart Justice Fair Justice Campaign and its coalition partners are working to harness the momentum for reform, teaming up with unlikely allies around the country to do whatever it takes to move away from mass incarceration. --

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