TLDR: If you would not want your child to go through the Justice system, why do we condone a terrible system. We can have a Justice system that keeps us safe while focusing on rehabilitation, not punishment.
In this country, justice is no longer blind; an individual’s race, gender, and net worth all tip the scales of justice. The rich and famous get off scot-free with their wrongdoings buried, while the poor and disadvantaged are encouraged to take a plea deal by an overworked public defender. We then shackle our neighbors with that crime for the rest of their lives.
We can stop this continual infringement of human and civil rights, eliminate court fees, and reform the bail system. If you would not want to go through this system yourself, why do we continue to force others through it? We must empower our public defenders to investigate and argue their cases effectively, allowing us to move closer to a system of justice that views everyone equally.
· End Two-Tier Justice
Currently, our government operates a two-tier justice system, one for the wealthy, one for the poor. Wealthy people can take advantage of the rights given to everyone under our justice system, such as posting bail, hiring capable defense counsel, and presenting a plan for alternative sentencing. We should hold this up as the standard of justice for all people, not just those with means.
· Eliminate Court Fees and Reduce Guilty Pleas
Years of bad public policy have turned our court system into a business that places an unjust burden on lower-income individuals. Many of our neighbors are stuck in jail for low-level infractions or wrongful accusations because they cannot afford to pay court fees or bail. Being held in jail also means losing employment and the ability to pay outstanding fines, and for some, that also means losing custody of their children. If you wouldn’t want this system for yourself or your family, why do we accept it for someone else? Currently, almost half a million presumptively innocent people sit in jail, unable to pay bail. Most of them never see a fair trial because the system pressures them to plead guilty in exchange for returning home to care for their family. Plea bargaining does little to serve justice when the poor are disproportionately affected because they cannot afford competent defense counsel. Our Justice System should not have to force families to choose between waiting for a fair trial or taking a plea to continue supporting their family.
· End Private Prisons
Prison should represent a fresh start for everyone within its walls. A fresh start is impossible with private prisons who want to harden their inmates and ensure they come back soon after their release. We should end existing policies that enrich the private prison industry. Instead, we can provide rehabilitation and give inmates more opportunities to rebuild a new life and ensure every inmate comes out as a better person than the one that went into the system.