… because punishment doesn’t equal justice
This is the second of a series of six posts, building up to the launch of my book Defund Fear. Each post draws out, from the book and from the wider community, the specific steps the Biden administration must take in order to prioritize the safety and security of people in America.
To achieve true safety, especially for the most vulnerable, the Biden Administration must defund punishment and instead fund accountability.
The first shift moves our society away from the dehumanization and trauma of punishment—including militarized police and incarceration—and instead prioritizes accountability, through community violence prevention and restorative justice, through robust first responders trained to deal with substance abuse, mental health issues, and family crises who will replace police responses. We can reallocate most of the $80 billion spent annually on incarceration, to provide funding.
#1 Defund Punishment; Fund Accountability
- Terminate the federal programs & agencies responsible for mass criminalization & incarceration. (Check out the Breathe Act here)
- End civil asset forfeiture, which allows police to seize property without trials
- Abolish qualified immunity for federal law enforcement
- Stop criminalizing public health issues and reward states that do so. Shift all Substance Use Disorder prevention and treatment programs from the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice to the Department of Health and Human Services
- Provide easy access to trained, trauma-informed interventionists who can be called on in domestic-violence situations and who are equipped to facilitate long-term safety, healing, and prevention
- Create a new Office of Survivor Support & Harm Prevention within the Community Public Safety Agency (Check out the Breathe Act here)
- Create an Office of Youth Support & Harm Prevention Programs within the Community Public Safety Agency, which includes all of the non-carceral, non-punitive programming that was previously funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (Check out the Breathe Act here)
- Authorize the immediate resentencing and early sentence termination of sentences for any person who was convicted solely of a drug offense
- Categorically prohibit federal law enforcement from using: “less than lethal” forms of crowd control like pepper spray and rubber bullets; military-grade weaponry; and predictive policing software
- Fully fund violence prevention/interruption programs like Advance Peace and Live Free campaign
- Abolish the Three Strikes Law, the federal death penalty, all mandatory minimum sentencing laws
- Enact a moratorium on the construction of all new federal prisons and jails, and immigrant and youth detention centers
- End the practice of incarcerating youth
- Fund community-based organizations providing non-punitive, non-carceral programs related to restorative justice and transformative justice
- Fund a program for investigation and healing of the Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women within the federal Community Public Safety Agency
- Establish a Commission on Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation to acknowledge and repair the historical legacy of racial violence, exploitation and exclusion
Defund Fear is available for pre-order now, and will be out in bookstores starting February 2, 2021. Twelve days after the Inauguration. Pre-orders really help the book succeed and are greatly appreciated.