The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, yet nearly 25 percent of its prisoners.
Unfortunately, California is still a world leader in mass incarceration. When prisons, jails, immigration detention, and juvenile jail facilities are all accounted for, California has an incarceration rate of 549 per 100,000 people. To be clear, California imprisons a higher percentage of its people than nearly every other democratically lead country on Earth.
The Brennan Center for Justice stated, “Mass incarceration rips apart families and communities, disproportionately hurts people of color, and costs taxpayers $260 billion a year.”
During my campaign in 2018 my plans to end mass incarceration were twisted and turned into false narratives that I was going to stop prosecuting ALL misdemeanors. What I said, and STILL say is that we need to reduce misdemeanor prosecutions that criminalize poverty, substance use, addiction and mental illness, as well as those based on pretextual racially-biased stops. A 2-year study by the ACLU of Northern California and the Urban Peace Movement, over six in 10 of all charges the Alameda County DA brought against adults were low-level offenses that either should have been directed to diversion programs or not charged at all. Prosecuting these low-level cases actually undermines public safety.
In fact, research out of the National Bureau of Economic Research found that not prosecuting people for these types of misdemeanors significantly reduced the probability of future involvement with the justice system and led to greater public safety.
Dorsey Nunn is Working to Stop Mass Incarceration
Dorsey Nunn, a leading expert with over 40 years of professional experience in criminal justice reform. I am so proud to say that Dorsey is a supporter and has endorsed me and my platform to stop mass incarceration.
Dorsey is Executive Director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and Co-Founder of All of Us or None. His storied career in justice reform has been key in many of the reforms we have seen in California. His work has led to policy victories including numerous “Ban the Box” laws passed at the local, state, and federal levels, the end of shackling of pregnant women, and the biggest drug sentencing reform passed by the California legislature in recent history (SB 180).
“Pamela Price has been pushing for reforms for decades and having her at the helm of the DA’s office would lead to important changes in prosecutions that would lead to not only safer communities but dismantle the system that profits and benefits from placing black and brown bodies behind bars,” said Nunn. “Pamela’s well-researched and compassionate plan to stop prosecuting misdemeanors that criminalize poverty, mental illness and substance abuse will bolster public safety.”
Mass Incarceration Devastates Communities
Mass incarceration devastates entire communities. It disproportionately worsens health and economic inequality in communities of color in the US. The same amount of money used to prosecute low-level, non-violent misdemeanors could be used to strengthen reentry programs. We can increase job training programs and create greater housing options for those who are families or victims of crimes or those who find themselves in the criminal justice system.
So much is at stake in the June 2022 primary for DA. As we look to the end of DA O’Malley’s tenure, it is vitally important we take an honest look at the culture in the DA’s office that fed mass incarceration. I am running for District Attorney as a panacea to the heavily entrenched and dogmatic mindset of a DA’s office that saw residents, (particularly people of color), as a statistic. To truly value human life and end the blight on California’s reputation as the leader in mass incarceration, we must uproot those who perpetuated unethical practices for personal and monetary gain.
Meaningful reforms to ending mass incarceration will not progress by maintaining the status quo in the DA’s office. In fact, the incumbent has actively been fighting key criminal justice reforms that benefited community safety of the last decade. Instead we need meaningful leadership that sides with data, research and compassion for the people she serves. #NationalStopMassIncarcerationDay #AlamedaDA22 #JusticewithCompassion #JusticeDoneRight #NoMoreDoubleStandard #StepForward2022